County seeking comments on airport improvements study

zmurdock@beaufortgazette.comDecember 25, 2013 

  • How to comment

    Beaufort County airport officials seek feedback on a study for improvements to bring the Hilton Head Island Airport up to Federal Aviation Administration standards.

    The study can be reviewed in person at the Hilton Head Island Airport or the nearby library, at 11 Beach City Road. It can also be viewed online at http://bit.ly/1c3ujYL.

    Comments are due by 5 p.m. Jan. 15 and can be delivered in person or mailed to airports director Jon Rembold, Hilton Head Island Airport, 120 Beach City Road, Hilton Head Island, SC 29926.

Beaufort County airport officials are seeking feedback on a study for improvements that will bring the Hilton Head Island Airport up to Federal Aviation Administration standards.

The study examines five projects that must completed to meet those standards, including the relocation and realignment of two taxiways, county airports director Jon Rembold said.

"We have some items that have to be corrected," he said.

The projects also include the acquisition of seven properties at either end of the runways that are too close to the airport and fall in "obstacle-free areas," Rembold said.

Federal rules do not allow buildings in those areas, so the airport intends to buy and demolish them, he said. Those seven properties include Insty-Prints, The Deep Well Project and neighboring businesses in The Commons on Beach City Road, and businesses in The Airport Office Park at 21 Dillon Road.

The projects are expected to cost $12.9 million, about 90 percent of which would be funded by the FAA, according to the study. Beaufort County would pay $870,000 to acquire adjacent properties, and the county and state would split $420,000 of construction costs, according to the study.

The county will file funding requests for the projects with the FAA and S.C. Aeronautics Commission within the next few months, after it reviews public comments, Rembold said.

In the mean time, the county is reviewing at least five bids for a proposed $2 million, 4,250-square-foot terminal expansion to increase passenger comfort and comply with Transportation Security Administration requirements, Rembold said.

"We're still reviewing those, but the hope is that we'll have something actionable in the springtime," he said.

Surveyors are also reexamining trees at each end of the runway that might have to be removed or trimmed in a second phase of tree removal to provide enough clearance for planes using the airport, Rembold said.

The FAA has approved a change in the airport's approach slope, which will require less trimming than the first phase, Rembold said. When the survey is completed in February or March, the county will know how many trees need to be removed or trimmed and will open the project for bidding.

"We should have a significant reduction of trees that need to be removed or trimmed, which I think is good for everyone," he said.

Follow reporter Zach Murdock at twitter.com/IPBG_Zach.

Related content:

Beaufort County airport study

Hilton Head Island Airport terminal expansion delayed, Aug. 15, 2013

Deep Well, others in limbo over forced relocation by airport, July 21, 2013

FAA warns pilots of obstructions at Hilton Head airport, May 20, 2013

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