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Main runway at MacArthur Airport to get $16M upgrade

The airport received a federal grant that will fund most of the construction to replace the 7,000-foot-long runway. Officials say the work will be done in sections and at night.

The threshold area of runway 06/24 at Long

The threshold area of runway 06/24 at Long Island MacArthur Airport is seen as a small plane takes off on Tuesday. Photo Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

Long Island MacArthur Airport’s main runway is slated for a $16 million makeover.

The Islip Town airport will receive a $14.28 million grant from the Federal Aviation Administration for rehabilitation of the 7,000-foot-long runway, federal officials said.

The runway will be ripped up and replaced with new asphalt as early as the fall, airport commissioner Shelley LaRose-Arken said Monday. The rehabilitation project will also include new LED lighting and pavement markings and grooves.

“Without a runway, you don’t really have an airport,” LaRose-Arken said. “It is the most critical infrastructure that an airport has, and it’s important to maintain it.”

The runway, which is named 06/24, is used by all three carriers at the Ronkonkoma airport: Frontier, Southwest and American airlines. It is in “poor condition” and was likely last completely rehabilitated 25 years ago, LaRose-Arken said. Repair has been done as needed, and the center section was replaced in 2008.

Construction is expected to cost about $16.4 million, based on the apparent lowest bid by Intercounty Paving Associates LLC of Westbury, LaRose-Arken said.

The state will fund 5 percent of the project, and the rest will come from airport passenger facility charges — the $4.50 fee on every passenger ticket, LaRose-Arken said, noting she expects to receive more money from the FAA’s discretionary fund by September.

“This grant will enable the town to improve the condition of the airport’s runway without the use of taxpayer dollars, and at the same time, bring jobs to the local economy,” Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter said in a statement.

MacArthur Airport’s award was announced by Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand last Friday as part of a $677 million FAA grant package. The runway’s design and engineering plan was funded in part by a $900,000 FAA grant announced in June 2017.

Construction will be done in sections and at night to limit the effect on passengers and carriers, LaRose-Arken said.

Southwest and Frontier airlines representatives expressed support for the project while an American Airlines spokesman declined to comment.

“We are confident the work can be coordinated to minimize any impact on flight operations,” Frontier’s senior vice president Daniel Shurz said in a statement.

The new runway is expected to last around 20 years, LaRose-Arken said. Two blast pads — the specially paved areas next to the runway that minimize the high winds produced by aircraft — also will be rehabilitated.

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