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Cuyahoga County Airport Celebrates Completion of $39 Million Runway Safety Area Improvement Project

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CUYAHOGA COUNTY The Cuyahoga County Airport celebrates today the completion of its Runway Safety Area Improvement Project, a $39 million project funded through grants from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) Office of Aviation. The project involved removing 600,000 cubic yards of earth, installing over 20,000 linear feet of storm pipe, laying over 65,000 tons of asphalt, and installing two Engineered Materials Arresting Systems (EMAS) at each runway end, new runway approach lights, and a new weather monitoring system. 

The project was completed in four phases through funding from the FAA, ODOT and the County. 

Phase One (Completed in 2016): Funded with Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 Airport Improvement Program (AIP) money and included 280,000 cubic yards of excavation, drainage improvements, embankment for the Runway 6 end shift and the removal of non-standard taxiway locations. Total cost: $9 million 

Phase Two (Completed in 2017): Funded with FY 2016 AIP grant and included rehabilitating and reconstructing the existing 5,102 feet of runway. Total cost: $10.5 million 

Phases Three and Four (Completed in 2018): A second AIP grant was awarded in 2016 for EMAS system installation. This system provides a graded area in the event that an aircraft overruns, undershoots or veers off the side of the runway and can stop an aircraft in overrunning the runway at approximately 80 miles per hour. These phases also shift the runway by extending Runway 6 by 511 feet, extending Taxiway “A”, installing new approach lights and an Automated Weather Observation System (AWOS). Total cost: $13.5 million 

“The Cuyahoga County Airport is a National Reliever Airport and is an attractive alternative for General Aviation, corporate and air charter operators,” said County Executive Armond Budish. “Its location, amenities, and traffic mix make it a more appealing option for many travel needs. This Runway Safety Improvement Project, generously funded by the FAA and ODOT, reassures the flying public and surrounding communities of our County’s vigilant commitment to flight safety.” 

May 30th also marks the airport’s 69th year of operation by the County. The airport was built in 1926 and spans across three municipalities: Highland Heights, Richmond Heights and Willoughby Hills. The airport has averaged 30,064 aircraft operations per year in the last decade. Future goals at the airport include increasing economic viability of the airport and the surrounding communities to continue serving as a vital resource for the flying public. 

“The Runway Safety Improvement Project re-establishes Cuyahoga County Airport as one of the nation’s premier airports,” said Airport Manager, Robert P. Hartigan. “All of these improvements give airport users the opportunity for global reach, and that represents a significant positive impact to the local economy and helps cement Cuyahoga County as the epicenter for the region’s prosperity.”