Lake in the Hills Airport starts construction on final phase of taxiway project

LAKE IN THE HILLS – The Lake in the Hills Airport has started
construction for the final phase of a $2.3 million taxiway project, which will eventually allow for the widening of the airports’ one runway,
Airport Manager Michael Peranich said. 

Improvements to the taxiway started about three years ago to create a buffer zone between the runway and taxiway, Peranich said. The former airport administration building was demolished Tuesday because it was in the way of the new taxiway, he said. 

The taxiway project is part of a larger safety improvement program for the airport, Peranich said,
and the goal is ultimately to bring it up to Federal Aviation Administration standards and eliminate a modification of standards from the FAA’s file.

The modification of standards
is a document that says the
FAA recognizes the airport was
privately owned before being
purchased by the village in the
mid-1980s, Peranich said, and
therefore is not up to all FAA standards.

“There are obviously some financial challenges to bring the entire airport up to specifications or design criteria of the day,” Peranich said,“So [the FAA] recognizes that challenge, and they’ve basically allowed us to continue operating as long as we prove to the FAA that we are making steps to mitigate these problems as we go along.”

The airport has about 34,000 takeoffs and landings per year, Peranich said, mostly from privately owned aircraft. There are 104 aircraft based at the airport, he said.

Ninety percent of the airport improvement program is covered by a federal grant, Peranich said. Five percent is covered by the State of Illinois, and the last 5 percent is covered by the village. This amounts to a village share of about $108,000 for the taxiway project, he said.

The last major project completed in 2014 was moving old fuel tanks that were too close to the runway, Peranich said. The project cost about $760,000, with a $38,000 local share, he said. 

The next phase will be a runway overhaul and widening, Peranich said. The 3,800-foot-long runway is 50 feet wide, and needs to be a minimum of 75 feet for FAA standards, he said. The runway also would need to be redone so it has a slope to it that allows for water runoff. 

That final phase of the runway expansion is expected to cost $5 million, he said, with about $300,000 coming from the village, Peranich said. 

The taxiway phase should be completed by November, he said, and the goal is to finish the entire airport improvement program by 2022.

“We want to operate this airport in the safest manner possible, and by mitigating all these challenges that face us – by getting all this infrastructure away from the runway to create a nice safety buffer zone – we’re making the airport a safer place to be, and minimizing our risk and everyone’s risk of operating here down the road,”
Peranich said. 

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