The second of three runway safety projects at the Leesville Municipal Airport has now been substantially completed, thanks to federal and state funding.
The safety projects, once they’re all complete, will bring the airport into compliance with FAA runway standards. The most recently completed, an $800,000 project north of the runway, included 25 acres of tree and stump removal; moving 150,000 cubic yards of dirt to level a hill; embankment stabilization; and drainage.
The work was performed by low bidder Apeck Construction.
“The existing 300 foot runway overrun area has increased to 1,500 feet and will complete most of the dirt work for a planned runway extension,” said Paul Jackson, manager of the airport. “The project was funded with 90 percent FAA and 10 percent DOTD airport improvement trust fund grants.”
A ridge that ran across the north end of the runway provided little room for pilot error, said Jackson. The cut and fill operation removed the ridge and now provides pilots with more room to maneuver when taking off to the north.
The project not only removed the safety hazard but also completed most of the dirt work for the next project, which will be an extension of the runway, reducing the the eventual cost of the latter project by half, said Jackson.
The first safety project that took place last year created about 20 acres of leveled ground to the northwest side of the runway, also an FAA standard. The third safety project will create still more level land to the southwest.
The final project, the runway extension, will open the airport up to larger corporate aircraft, making Leesville competitive with both DeRidder and Alexandria.
“Most major corporations use aircraft for their business,” said Jackson. “Having an airport that can accommodate them makes it possible to attract more business and industry to Leesville.” Currently, the Leesville Airport has 14 based aircraft.
For more information about the Leesville Municipal Airport, please contact Tammy Sharp at 337-238-2283.