Westfield-Barnes Regional Airport to receive $8.7 million - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Westfield-Barnes Regional Airport to receive $8.7 million in grants

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It's the centerpiece of any airport-the runway.

"The runway itself is a critical component to what we do here," said Col. Peter Green with the 104th Fighter Wing. 

With both private and military planes taking off from the tarmac at Barnes Regional Airport in Westfield, the wear and tear can break it down jeopardizing daily operations.

"Many years ago we transitioned from the A10 to the F15 and the runway was in need of some repairs at that time. Well certainly with the F15 now it's a heavier aircraft, it has an after burner it uses to take off, there are transition points where the aircraft is going to take off so it's accelerating deterioration that was already there at this point," Green said.

Congressman Richard Neal and Airport Manager Brian Barnes announced Monday the FAA is stepping in with $8.7 million to update the out of date runway that is eight years passed its 20 year life expectancy.

"Because it is commercial activity as well as military activity you can see that the formula has called for some military expenditure and some commercial expenditure, that's where the FAA comes in," said Congressman Richard Neal.

The project is expected to take around four months to complete with the main runway closed down for about one month of the reconstruction.

"It'll effect all airplane operations whether they're commercial or really for us corporate operations or even for the general aviation folks because now we're going to have to use the smaller runway," said Brian Barnes, airport manager.

The project will start Aug. 5 and officials say they are hopeful it will be done by Thanksgiving.

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