MT announces plan to do improvements to airport

Friday, August 22, 2003

With an announcement last Wednesday that the Marked Tree Municipal Airport will receive over $150,000 to help improve runways and other areas at the airport, Marked Tree Mayor Lawrence Ashlock announced last week the results of a report detailing the kinds of work that will be done at the airport, as a result of receiving the money.

In the seven-page report, obtained by the Tri-City Tribune, the report goes into detail about improving different aspects at the airport. They include improving existing pavement condition and design, drainage improvements, construction procedures and the project schedule. The report by Brawley Consulting Engineers, Inc. of West Memphis states that the report is "submitted in support of design for rehabilitation work of existing facilities including taxiway repair and overlay, seal coating the runway and aprons along with reconstruction of drainage ditches and related improvements." The city also plans to overlay the existing access road into the airport from Ark. 308 and work to remove and replace a portion of the existing failed asphalt pavement areas and adding an overlay, under the plan.

In the section, entitled "Existing Pavement Condition and Design," Brawley recommends that the existing cross-section should be capable of handling an aircraft gross weight of 15,000 pounds. The section has several failed areas that need repair and to improve the thickness, an overlay of three inches is needed to be added in two courses. The access roadway from the airport to Ark. 308 is also recommended for a two-inch overlay. The report states that both the runway and access roads were built in 1968 and is in need of repair.

As for drainage, the report calls for drainage pipes and ditches being cleaned out and reconstructed back to their original cross-sections and work done to the headwalls and to protect against erosion protection. The plan states that due to silting and overgrowth problems, some of the drainage is operating at less than 50% capacity. The plan also causes for the project coordination to be coordinated and sequenced in a way to be safe and to use the airport to its fullest extent.

Marked Tree Mayor Lawrence Ashlock told the Tri-City Tribune that the $150,000 is part of a three-year deal by the federal government, where the airport receives $150,000 a year for work to be done. Ashlock stated that improvements to the airport will help, but other things are needed to make the airport attractive for both businesses and agriculture. Ashlock said, "We need to extend the runway. However, $1 million to $1.5 million is needed for that improvement. We really need a 5,000-foot runway. It will help bring in aircraft, up to a King-Air aircraft (which seats seven people)." Ashlock also stated that improvements at the airport will help in industrial recruiting, with the construction of I-555 on the horizon.

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