The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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March 21, 2013

Airport work to eliminate potential safety problems

JOPLIN, Mo. — Projects at the Joplin Regional Airport that will begin this year are designed to eliminate some potential safety problems identified by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Steve Stockam, airport manager, on Thursday told members of the Joplin Area Transportation Study Organization that the FAA identified two “hot spots” within a complex intersection at the airport that it wants corrected.

Stockam said that when the problems were identified, the airport took some corrective steps with additional markings. Those steps, he said, were not enough to satisfy the FAA.

“They want physical changes, and that’s what we are going to do,” he said.

The changes are in response to an air crash on Aug. 27, 2006, at Lexington, Ky. The aircraft was assigned to the airport’s Runway 22 for takeoff, but it used Runway 26 instead. Runway 26 was too short for a safe takeoff, causing the aircraft to overrun the runway before it could become airborne. All 47 passengers and two of the three crew members on board were killed.

A similar configuration of taxiways and runways exists near the general aviation area at the Joplin Regional Airport, Stockam said.

“We’re going to remove pavement so that a plane cannot taxi out and get on the wrong runway,” he said.

The first phase of the project will cost an estimated $1.1 million. The second phase, which begins in 2014, will have an estimated cost of $1.7 million. Stockam said the airport is again part of the FAA’s entitlement program.

Matt Wright, with JATSO, said 95 percent of the costs will be paid by the FAA and 5 percent will come from the airport.

In addition to the taxiway changes, the construction of a service road for fuel trucks also was recommended by the FAA. Fuel trucks must now cross two taxiways to haul fuel from the general aviation area of the airport to the new terminal.

Stockam said the service road would loop around the airport’s 13/31 runway. The airport will receive $120,000 to do the engineering for the eventual construction of that road.

The airport also will receive funding for a new snow blower and a new firetruck to be purchased later this year. Those costs will total $500,000.

JATSO also learned that the Missouri Department of Transportation has entered into a $512,000 contract for repairs at the interchange where Highway 249 and Highway 171 meet on the east side of Webb City.

Dan Salisbury, assistant district engineer with MoDOT, said the on-call contract means that MoDOT can move quickly to fix an erosion problem when the problem is small and less costly to correct. He said the slide-prone area appears to be stabilizing.

Safe routes

A SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOL safety program has been funded with a $25,000 grant by the Federal Highway Administration. The bicycle- and pedestrian-safety program will be offered at Jefferson, Eastmorland, McKinley and Duenweg elementary schools.

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