LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Ribbon was cut at Blue Grass Airport on Wednesday to celebrate the completion of the Taxiway Safety Enhancement Program.
The project was nine years in the making and the airport explains it was a complicated construction project that improved the efficiency of airplane movement and ensured operational safety on the airfield.
"That actually improved the efficiency and safety for all of our users at the airport," said Eric Frankl, the airport's executive director.
The project realigned the airport's primary taxiway, built two new support facilities, and constructed a new taxiway to connect the runway to the parking apron.
Airport leaders explained that like roadways, taxiways become congested, so work is needed to alleviate that and allow for future growth.
These infrastructure changes were needed to accommodate the growing number of travelers. The airport says in 2019 alone. 1.4 million people flew in and out of Blue Grass Airport.
"This program, combined with a runway improvement project planned for the next two years, will result in an investment of almost $100 million," said Elizabeth Woodward, chair of the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Airport Board. "We are thankful for the support of the many stakeholders involved in this project and for the financial resources provided by the federal government through the Federal Aviation Administration. In addition to the airfield enhancements, we now have two state-of-the-art support facilities that allow us to better serve the traveling public."
Senator Mitch McConnell attended the ribbon cutting where he explained that the investment was necessary because of the role the airport plays in the country's supply chain.
"Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Kentucky's strong air infrastructure made us a critical juncture in the supply chains that keep America moving. Now, as we put the coronavirus in the rearview mirror, it's important we equip the Commonwealth's airports with the resources needed to continue that success far into the future," said Senator McConnell. "I've been proud to work with the Fayette County community and Congressman Andy Barr to help provide the federal funds needed to complete this project and expand Blue Grass Airport's capabilities. Because of their vision and dedication, today we start a new chapter of quality and service in Lexington."
Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton said improvements to the airport help the city in the long run.
"Many businesses have moved to our region because we have this state-of-the-art, convenient airport," said Gorton.
Although this project is now wrapped up, the work is not done yet. Next month, the airport's runway will be repaved.