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Puerto Rico Ports Authority breaks down use of $6.9M in FAA grants

The Puerto Rico Ports Authority broke down the five projects that will be funded with a $6.88 million from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), to improve the island’s airport infrastructure.

Agency Executive Director Joel A. Pizá said first grant, representing nearly $1.8 million of the total will be used for upgrades at several regional airports.

The money will go toward updating Airports Layout Plan (ALP) for eight regional airports — Arecibo (ABO), Isla Grande (SIG), Ceiba (RVR), Culebra (CPX), Vieques (VQS), Humacao (X63), Ponce (PSE) and Mayaguez (MAZ). It also includes preparing the Airport Property Maps for those same eight airports.

“The ALPs are the most important part of the Master Plan Update for each airport. The map contains information used by the FAA to schedule future financial assistance and to monitor the airport’s compliance with design standards and grant guarantees,” he said.

“It serves as a planning tool for Ports to direct a development plan in compliance with airport design standards and safety requirements, as well as airport and community land use plans” he added.

Part of the funding under that grant will go toward detailed planning for the Isla Grande Airport (SIG) in San Juan. The current and future critical aircraft and the resulting Airport Reference Code will be evaluated and then the required projects necessary to meet applicable FAA airport design standards will be determined, he said.

Funds will also be used to update the Pavement Management Program for the eight airports and Aguadilla’s Rafael Hernández Airport.

“Over the past 18 months, the Ports Authority has launched the most ambitious pavement reconstruction program in the past 40 years. With this assignment, an analysis will be done, and the quality of these processes will be confirmed,” Pizá said.

The second grant, for $86,576, will be used to buy two fire suppression test kits, known as “ARFF Test Car,” for the Aguadilla and Ponce airports. The equipment is a test system designed to test foam firing equipment without the impact of foam use on the environment.

A third grant for a little more than $1.9 million will be used for the rehabilitation design of the pavement of the runway and east portion of Taxiway A at Ponce’s Mercedita Airport.

This project will produce two sets of plans and specifications to be able to implement the construction works of both airfield sections. The hired consultant will carry out geotechnical and surveying studies, among others, to obtain the necessary data for the design of both projects.

After the earthquakes of January 2020, the airport’s pavement suffered damage. The goal of that design is to rebuild the Ponce airport runway by 2024. It also includes the acquisition of a Quick Dash Class II truck for Air Rescue efforts, Pizá explained.

A fourth grant for $815,850, will be used for the Rehabilitation Design of the Runway Pavement at the Isla Grande Airport, in San Juan, as well as for environmental studies to rehabilitate the Runway Safety Area (RSA).

The RSA is one of the most critical areas of an airport and must be in optimal conditions, to have a firm taxiing area available in case an aircraft cannot take off due to an unforeseen situation.

The fifth and final grant, for $20,000, will be used to complement the funds for the Aguadilla airport runway project and the acquisition of a Quick Dash Class II truck, which is necessary to strengthen air rescue operations.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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