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LITH allocated federal money for $5 million runway project

Published: Monday, April 21, 2014 1:10 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, April 21, 2014 11:50 p.m. CDT
Caption
A Cessna 170 lands at the Lake in the Hills airport. Federal money has been allocated for a runway reconstruction at the Lake in the Hills airport. Construction of the $5 million project has yet be scheduled, but design work can move forward. Northwest Herald file photo

LAKE IN THE HILLS – The runway at the village's airport is slated to get an upgrade.

The village has been awarded a federal grant to help with the reconstruction of the 3,800-foot runway at the airport, according to a news release.

The grant would pay for 90 percent of a $5 million project to reconstruct and widen the existing runway to at least 75 feet from 50 feet and bring it up to current Federal Aviation Administration standards.

“This will be a significant safety improvement to airport operations,” Airport Manager Michael Peranich said in a news release. “While it will not allow the airport to serve larger aircraft, it makes landing under crosswind conditions much safer and will eliminate the current waiver to runway width provided by the FAA.”

The details and timing of the actual construction will be determined as part of the design work, the village said.

Peranich said it will probably be at least two years before physical work on the project takes place and is anticipated to begin after the completion of the final phase of the parallel taxiway relocation.

Rebuilding the airport's only runway would probably take about two months, Peranich said. How the project will be staged has yet to be determined.

Village staff is set to work with engineering firm Crawford, Murphy and Tilly Inc. to plan and design the runway project.

The federal grant covers 90 percent of the $5,053,000 project costs. Five percent of the project is slated to come from the state. The remaining five percent will be paid for from revenues generated at the airport, the village said.

The runway reconstruction and taxiway relocation work are part of the ongoing safety improvements to the airport, which began in 2003 with upgrades to navigational aids.

The most recent projects include a wildlife hazard assessment conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the relocation of Pyott Road, and the extension of perimeter fence around the airport. Relocation of the fuel facility and construction of a new fueling apron is scheduled to take place this summer. Bids for the taxiway relocation are expected to open in about a year.

“This is a great occasion for both Lake in the Hills and McHenry County,” Village President Paul Mulcahy said in a news release. “The work will have short-term impacts of improving the safety of the airport and creating construction jobs."

The most recent study by the Illinois Department of Transportation said the Lake in the Hills Airport has $28.7 million annual economic impact on the region. Runway reconstruction will further enhance this local impact, the village said.

“Long term these improvements will support the economic development of McHenry County,” Mulcahy said.

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