SYLACAUGA, Ala. – Nearly $2 million in grants has been awarded to Sylacauga’s local airport.

Nearly $26 million in Federal Aviation Administration grants has been awarded to airports in the state of Alabama by the U.S. Department of Transportation for improvements to support infrastructure construction, safety and equipment acquisition.

In total, Sylacauga’s Merkel Field will be awarded $1,948,542 for improvements to runways and runway lighting.

This project rehabilitates 5,390 feet of Runway 9/27 to maintain the structural integrity of the pavement and to minimize foreign object debris. It will also fix the lighting system that is no longer considered safe. The system will be fixed for for safe operation during low-visibility conditions.

“The surface has deteriorated overtime as asphalt does,” said Tommy Dobson. Dobson is the chairman of the Sylacauga Airport Authority. “We will also get more capacity out of the runway, so we can land heavier aircraft.”

Once the project gets underway, the runway will be closed for “some time” in September and October according to Dobson. The crew repairing the runway will have 60 work days to complete the job – that does not factor in days that could be washed out by rain or other weather conditions. Overall, the airport will remain open for other purposes.

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