Authority OKs $2M in improvements at Unity, Rostraver airports |

Authority OKs $2M in improvements at Unity, Rostraver airports

Jeff Himler
A motorist turns into Arnold Palmer Regional Airport on Aug. 14, 2018, using the original access road that will be maintained as an alternate service entrance. A new access road links the airport with a roundabout nearby on Route 981 in Unity.

The Westmoreland County Airport Authority on Tuesday awarded contracts for about $2 million in capital improvements at the Arnold Palmer Regional and Rostraver airports.

More than $1.3 million in work will be involved in installing a second passenger loading bridge at the Arnold Palmer airport terminal in Unity. The project also involves alterations to the terminal’s secure holding area.

The airport’s existing passenger bridge was designed more than a decade ago, mainly for use with Boeing 737 airplanes. The planned bridge is longer and better suited for larger Airbus planes Spirit Airlines uses for its flights from the Unity airport to Myrtle Beach, S.C., and to locations in Florida, according to authority officials. A bridge designed for larger aircraft would provide a more gradual slope between the terminal and the aircraft door.

The authority approved contracts with companies that submitted low bids: Arcon Contracting, general contractor, at a price of $1.25 million; Darr Construction — plumbing, $19,400, heating, ventilation and air conditioning, $21,275, and electrical, $59,600.

The authority also is replacing an older emergency generator near the control tower at the Unity airport. It awarded the contract for installing a new natural gas-powered generator to Darr, at a cost of $105,345.50.

Derry Construction, which performed similar work at Arnold Palmer Regional, was hired to rehabilitate a taxiway at the Rostraver Airport, at a cost of $586,332.10. The contractor will repair cracks and will mill, refresh and mark the pavement.

The contract awards are contingent on grant funding and approval from the Federal Aviation Administration and agreement by the state Bureau of Aviation.

In the case of the Rostraver project, “We’ve received word that the FAA has offered the grant,” said authority engineer Scott Kunselman. With that funding in hand, he said, construction could begin in the fall.

With construction substantially complete, officials on July 9 completed a final inspection of the new access road linking parking areas at Arnold Palmer Regional with a recently constructed roundabout on Route 981.

Among items to be completed is installation of an airport name sign in the middle of the roundabout. Authority Executive Director Gabe Monzo said the sign should be in place within a month.

PennDOT has agreed that the Unity airport’s original access road, located further southwest along Route 981, can remain open as an alternate service entrance, Monzo said. “The roundabout augments that,” he said.

“It’s like anything with new highways, you’re going to have to get used to using it,” authority Chairman Don Rossi said of the roundabout. “We would advise anybody coming in to use the airport to go slow until you understand how the flow works.”

All traffic travels counter-clockwise around the center of the single-lane roundabout. According to PennDOT, motorists entering a roundabout must yield to traffic inside it. A right-turn signal should be used when exiting the roundabout.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, [email protected] or via Twitter @jhimler_news.

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