01
May
2011
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Airport Relocation Reaches Milestone


After more than a decade of planning, studies and permitting a crowd of 50 Conway residents and community leaders gathered April 22nd to break ground on a new airport for Conway.
The $25 million project is located in the Lollie Bottoms area in the southwest corner of the city. Once opened, the new airport will replace Conway’s existing airport in the center of town. The new airport will include a longer runway (5,500 ft) and is located in an area that can accommodate neighboring aviation and commercial needs.
Conway’s current airport has less than 3,500 feet of usable runway. The short runway and lack of a safety overrun area has contributed to two fatal crashes since 1990. The current location, between Interstate 40 and Harkrider Avenue is completely surrounded by residential, commercial and transportation activities restricting any improvement or growth.
Conway Mayor Tab Townsell said that the groundbreaking marks the “end of the beginning” to the lengthy relocation process. “It has taken 12 years of a dedicated effort and more than 30 years of resolve to get where we are today. We have many people to thank. Conway’s future citizens are indebted to all of them.
Currently, the airport is scheduled for a five year construction process. Local officials hope to accelerate that timeline. “The quicker we get the airport open, the quicker we remedy the serious issues surrounding our current airport. Seamless funding will also save taxpayer dollars” added Townsell.
Plans are in place to move air traffic to the new location before the airport is 100% complete. Once the necessary infrastructure is in place planes will transition while a terminal and other complementary facilities are still under construction.
Mayor Townsell said that city government is already working with the community on plans for the current airport site. “It’s important for the former site to become an asset for Conway. The interstate visibility and its central location offer a tremendous opportunity for well planned development.”
Senator Mark Pryor and Representative Tim Griffin were also on hand for the ground breaking ceremony. During his remarks, Senator Pryor praised the teamwork he has witnessed throughout the planning process. “This is great day for Conway. The teamwork and cooperation the people of Conway have put in to this project stands out as an example to the entire state.” Representative Griffin said that the project was an investment in the economic future of central Arkansas. “Let there be no mistake: This airport is an economic engine for Central Arkansas and that means