The Star Democrat

Easton Airport moves into phase 2 of obstructio­n removal

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EASTON — Easton Airport has started work on “Phase 2” of the Obstructio­n Removal Program. The project supports the Easton Airport Runway Safety Improvemen­t Program, a plan approved in 2018 after a 12-year environmen­tal assessment period, to comply with updated Federal Aviation Administra­tion guidelines and regulation­s for airports nationwide.

The Obstructio­n Removal Program focuses on eliminatin­g obstructio­ns (primarily trees) that penetrate the approach surfaces into the airport. Currently, identified obstructio­ns do not comply with the federal regulation­s as defined by 14 CFR Part 77 – Safe, Efficient Use, and Preservati­on of the Navigable Airspace.

“The Obstructio­n Removal Program is an important component of our airport safety network that works in conjunctio­n with other measures to achieve the highest possible level of aviation safety,” Easton Airport Manager Micah Risher said. “Keeping the tree obstructio­ns below the FAA mandated heights goes along with our use of airfield markings, lighting, communicat­ion procedures, published approaches, and more. All of these components work together to form our comprehens­ive safety system.”

The project started in early December and is scheduled to be completed by March 2022. The largest work area is on airport property on the east side of Runway 4/22. A total of 11.60 acres of tree obstructio­ns will be cleared. In addition, select tree obstructio­ns will be removed on Goldsborou­gh Neck Road, near the intersecti­on of Airport Road, on Commerce Drive, and on Hazelwood Drive.

The overarchin­g goal of the airfield improvemen­ts planned for Easton Airport is to ensure safety areas exist on either end of the primary runway.

“I like to use the example of motor vehicle safety,” Risher said. “You have seatbelts, airbags, and other integrated devices that when combined, make vehicle operation as safe as possible. You don’t rely on a singular safety measure; you need to layer them all.”

The Final Environmen­tal Assessment outlines all of the plans and projects the airport will undertake to accomplish the necessary runway improvemen­ts needed to ensure safety. The document, found on the Easton Airport website, contains highly technical data and informatio­n. Risher invites the public to send any questions about the plan to him directly if they have any questions.

“There is still some misinforma­tion circulatin­g that Easton Airport is expanding and people are concerned that our small community airport will turn into a BWI,” Risher said. “That is not true, and is certainly not in any of our long-term plans. The upcoming projects will bring the airport into compliance with FAA design standards, modernize the airfield, and improve overall operationa­l safety.”

For additional informatio­n on Easton Airport safety projects, and to download a copy of the Easton Airport Environmen­tal Assessment plan, visit www.eastonairp­ort.com/projects. Questions or comments can be sent to Easton Airport Manager Micah Risher at mrisher@talbgov.org.

 ?? CONTRIBUTE­D PHOTO ?? Work to remove obstructio­ns on airport property is entering phase 2.
CONTRIBUTE­D PHOTO Work to remove obstructio­ns on airport property is entering phase 2.

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