$1M-plus runway renovation project underway at airport

Published 12:38 pm Friday, December 17, 2021

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The city of Bogalusa is getting a “Christmas present” of its own this year, as a renovation project of a little more than $1 million is taking place at the city’s airport at George R. Carr Memorial Air Field.

Bogalusa Mayor Wendy Perrette and Airport Manager Landon Tims explained that the project is fully funded through federal and state taxes, meaning that it will not cost the city anything from its own budget.

Tims said most of the project would be devoted toward upgrading the existing runway. It will be milled and overlayed, with new asphalt. He said the city pursued the grant funding approximately two years ago, and Barriere Construction was the winning bidder.

Work on the runway began recently, and the entire project is slated to take approximately two months to complete from start to finish.

“We also have a new fixed-based operator that’s out there, who’s doing a lot of mechanic work on planes,” Tims said. “We’ve got a brand-new taxiway that was recently built in the past few years. We really have an opportunity to grow.”

Tims said that the repaving of the runway would be equivalent in size to “six mile-long roads.” He noted that 20 years ago, the runway had a “leveling course” done to help patch it up at the time, but that patching was not as comprehensive compared to this year’s upgrade.

He also said another grant is in the works to hopefully bring in new navigational-aid equipment.

Perrette said that the city is hopeful the new airport upgrades will be the latest in a string of positive transportation infrastructure news for the area. She noted that the recently announced Louisiana Highway 3241 project — which will ultimately connect Bogalusa to Interstate 12 via four-lane highway — is another positive development.

“We have the box plant here and it makes boxes that go to Amazon and other places,” she said. “(The airport upgrades and new highway) could possibly bring in a transportation hub for Amazon or another larger company. (The airport project) is so beneficial to the city because this doesn’t cost (local) taxpayers any money. It comes from federal and state agencies, and it’s 100-percent funded.

“There’s no loss in revenue for the city; it can only be beneficial for us.”

Tims noted that the city owns more than 300 acres at the airport site, so it has room to grow if expansion is ever needed in the future.

Perrette pointed out that Bogalusa’s airport is very similar to the size of Hammond’s airport 20 years ago. She said it is exciting to think that the Bogalusa’s airport could see similar growth over the next few decades, with the proper leadership and proactive thinking.

“We really have a lot of future potential with our airport,” she said.

The airport runway is approximately 16 to 18 feet wide, and more than 5,000 feet long.

Perrette said that the city was unable to work on many large projects during the COVID-19 pandemic, but now things are starting to pick up once again.

“We’ve got a lot of things going on right now that are really great things for our city,” she said. “I want our citizens to know about them. They might not always think we’re working over here, but we’ve got some major projects going on. Street work, the airport, improvements to infrastructure — this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of monies that are being passed down the pike through the federal government.

“This is a time for us to do this work wisely, and potentially double or triple our investment.”