With unanimous approval from the county commissioners, the Carroll County Regional Airport will be moving forward in the first phase of its $80 million runway expansion project.
The Westminster airport’s new runway is planned to be 400 feet longer than the existing one to ease the way for aircraft carrying heavier loads to land more safely in adverse conditions. As part of the project, a portion of Meadow Branch Road will be relocated to west of where it is currently located to provide for a larger buffer between the roadway and the runway.
On Thursday, the Board of County Commissioners gave the airport the green light to begin the preliminary engineering and sub-consultant work necessary to move the roadway. This work will include gathering geotechnical data, developing preliminary designs and planning for stormwater management, airport manager Mark Myers said at the meeting.
Myers also informed the commissioners the total cost of the preliminary engineering would come to $450,000 and confirmed it would not be paid for using taxpayer money. Instead, funding will be provided through grants from the Federal Aviation Administration, the Maryland Aviation Administration and some grant money from the federal coronavirus relief legislation.
The airport will also be providing $11,489 in funding for this stage of the project, money from its fiscal 2019 enterprise fund, Myers said.
The Federal Aviation Administration announced last month that it would be awarding $15.9 million in grants to airports in Maryland for maintenance and upkeep, of which Carroll County will be getting $232,222. Westminster’s airport also received an additional $69,000 grant from the FAA, funded by the federal relief package.
Next, Myers said the airport will be finalizing the design plan for the Meadow Branch Road relocation and starting construction on the road. He estimated this stage of the project would take about a year.