No shovels have turned dirt yet at the Texarkana Regional Airport, but that should change in a big way during the next 60 days. Highlighted by a two-story, 37,000-SF terminal, construction activity is expected to be the new normal for months to come.
All told, more than $41.5 million worth of improvements are in motion for the southeast side of the airport.
“It’s like building a whole new airport, except on the other side of the existing airport,” said Mitch Rose, executive vice president with McClelland Consulting Engineers Inc.
The Little Rock firm is helping oversee the multiphased project, which is kicking off with construction of a new $7.6 million south taxiway.
Funded in large part by a nearly $6.9 million grant from the Federal Aviation Administration, taxiway construction should begin by the first of October and be complete in a year. An FAA funding request is in the pipeline to pay for the lion’s share of construction of a new north taxiway, estimated at $4 million.
“We haven’t received the grant for that yet, but we hope to,” said Mark Mellinger, director of the Texarkana Regional Airport. “The taxiway will allow us to build the new terminal and everything that goes with it.”
The terminal, estimated to cost $15.7 million, is under design and expected to be built on a four-phase time frame linked with proposed FAA funding.
Construction of the terminal is ex-pected to begin next year, followed by the start of installation work on the building’s heating-cooling systems along with plumbing and electrical in 2021, ground-floor finish-out work in 2022 and second-floor finish-out work in 2023.
The addition of a new amenity for commercial passenger service included in the 2023 checklist is a jet bridge. The enclosed terminal-to-aircraft extension will provide protection from the elements for inbound and outbound passengers, who currently have to deal with the outdoors and aircraft stairs.
“The FAA required the taxiway work to be done first, so aircraft wouldn’t have to cross the runways so much,” Mellinger said. “It is a safety consideration.”
Design of the land side improvements, which include the long- and short-term pay parking, employee parking and access drive for the new terminal, will begin in 2021. Construction will follow in 2022 and 2023. Total estimated cost: nearly $3.7 million.
Two-phase funding and construction of the aircraft apron at the new terminal is projected at $8.2 million.