After being operational for 40 years, the air traffic control tower at Barkley Regional Airport is set to undergo major renovations this month.
The renovation project calls for the existing tower to be dismantled down to its metal skeleton, with additional supports being added to bring the tower inline with current seismic codes. It will then have a new roof and HVAC system installed before being re-skinned. The final phase of the project calls for the tower cab to be fitted with brand new computers, weather related equipment, and other systems that controllers are anxious to have at their disposal.
Airport spokesperson Eddie Grant says the project will take about 12 to 16 months. Air traffic controllers will move into a temporary tower on May 19th so operations can continue until the project is complete.
"We want everyone to know that all airport operations will not be impacted through the course of the renovations," said Airport Manager Richard Roof. "With the temporary tower in place, Barkley will still be a tower controlled airport for the duration of the project."
Money for the renovation has already been set aside from the Federal Aviation Administration's budget in 2011 and 2012, but delays in projects at other airports caused the start date to be pushed back. The project was also put in jeopardy last year when the FAA threatened to close 149 contract towers as part of sequestration mandated cuts. Congress has since acted to protect the towers and the project was given the green light.
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