Adirondack Regional Airport getting another upgrade

SARANAC LAKE – The Adirondack Regional Airport will begin planning for the second phase of upgrades.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced it will award $84,405 for the design of a new apron for the airport’s front terminal. The existing apron has deteriorated from water intrusion and poor drainage.

“Last year we designed, constructed and redid almost half of our apron,” said Airport Manager Corey Hurwitch. “This is going to be a little bit of a bigger project, so they’re breaking it up into a design project, and the construction project will hopefully follow next year.”

The apron is essentially a parking lot for aircraft. The project will improve subsurface drainage beneath the apron and thereby reduce sheet flow during storms. Hurwitch said the poor drainage is especially problematic during winter freeze-and-thaw cycles.

“The subsurface was never designed to handle the aircraft weight of what we have,” Hurwitch said. “Adding drainage will keep some of those subsurface layers dryer and that will help us support the heavier aircraft we park on it.”

The DOT grant will cover 95 percent of the project; the remainder will be split between New York state and Saranac Lake.

U.S. Rep. Bill Owens applauded the grant in a press release.

“In our region, small airports like the Adirondack Regional Airport keep us connected to larger regional hubs and give tourists convenient access to the Adirondacks,” Owens said in the press release. “Upgrading our airport complements ongoing efforts to increase tourism in the region and, in doing so, helps us realize the Adirondack’s full economic potential.”

Another U.S. DOT grant to expand the terminal is pending.