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Mercedita Airport’s ‘Alpha’ taxiway inaugurated after $10.7M upgrade

Puerto Rico government officials inaugurated the Alpha taxiway at the Mercedita International Airport in Ponce, following a $10.7 million renovation, Puerto Rico Ports Authority Executive Director Joel Pizá-Batiz said.

The Alpha taxiway is the main access for aircraft to use to and from the runway during take-off and landing operations.

Pizá Batiz said that the Ports Authority recently carried out a pavement inspection program at all airports on the island, including Mercedita in Ponce. The condition of the pavements was evaluated according to the standards of the Federal Aviation Agency and the American Society for Testing and Materials International, he said.

The evaluation revealed that the Alpha taxiway had pavement defects that included structural deficiencies, as well as problems caused by weather such as rust and cracking, he said.

The agency prepared a plan to address these defects, recommending a total reconstruction in the western part of the Alpha taxiway.

Constructora Santiago II was in charge of the project. The FAA paid 90% of the $10.6 million invested, while the Ports Authority covered the remaining 10% with own funds.

The project included the demolition and paving with asphalt material of a portion of the Alpha taxiway, as well as the milling of another portion of the forecourt and its asphalt resurfacing covering some 455,000 square feet.

“The portion of the highway near the main platform where aircraft turns take place was rebuilt with a concrete pavement for more durability and strength, spanning some 40,000 square feet,” Pizá-Batiz said.

The project also entailed installing LED lights on the sides of the road, building some 15,000 linear feet of new drainage infrastructure, and pavement markings.

The project generated 229 direct and indirect jobs, Pizá-Batiz said.

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