St. Marys Municipal Airport restoration update

Photo illustration by Larry Simon – An IA Construction employee uses a boring tool to drill a 9 in. plug out of the asphalt followed by the sinking of a 4.5-ft. rod to act as the aircraft tie down. The hole is then filled and tapered with concrete to keep water from infiltrating the surface. The plug reveals the 7 in. of asphalt with a line 2 in. from the top which is the Petromat which helps prevent reflective cracking from progressing to the surface and has the reinforcement quality of 1.5 in. of asphalt.
By: 
Larry Simon
Special to The Daily Press 

The St. Marys Municipal Airport has been undergoing a taxiway and apron restoration after an FAA 5010 safety inspection determined cracks in the asphalt could pose damaging trouble for aircraft. A 5010 inspection covers all safety aspects of an airport from runway, taxi and apron surfaces, fuel, markings, pilot view obstructions right down to their fire extinguishers; 5010 is the FAA form number.
According to Airport Administrative Assistant Amy Anderson, the total cost of this restoration is $436,232. Of which the local share was only 5.26 percent, or $21,811.50, the majority of that coming from a grant provided by the Stackpole-Hall Foundation. The state matched the local share with the federal share amounting to $392,609.
GAI consultant’s inspector and lead CMT Dustin P. Camise has kept us up to date on the project. In the first week, sub-contractor Donegal milled 3 inches of asphalt off 7,700 square yards of apron (the areas where they park the planes) and deteriorated parts of the taxiways.
Everything has to be specific to FAA standards, right down to the grade and type of asphalt which IA Construction, the main contractor, laid down, filling in cracks as they went. A 1-inch layer of asphalt was followed by Henderson Construction Fabrics Inc. Petromat, which reinforces the overall surface, and another 2-inch layer of asphalt.
That was all complete in the first week. This week, they proceeded with sinking aircraft tie-downs into the apron. These are 4.5-foot rods with an auger end and an eye on top, used to anchor aircraft in case of windy conditions.
Airport Manager Matt Box said the old tie-downs were one of the problems as they were recessed into the ground too deep, allowing water to fill in the holes and freeze, making it necessary to chip away in order to utilize the tie down. These newer tie-downs are brought level with the surface.
Completed in just two days, CMT Camise said there are nine sets of three tie-downs, placed at varied spacing to accommodate various types of aircraft. The plugs bored out of the apron reveal the asphalt is 7 inches thick, and with the reinforcement of Petromat under the top 2 inches, the airport aprons have the surface equivalent of 8.5 inches of asphalt.
Weather has stepped in to delay the finishing steps, which include another 4,500 square yards of additional taxiways, the apron to be seal coated, and traffic pattern markings to be painted. This will bring the total restoration area to 12,200 square yards.

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