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Sunday, June 16, 2019

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South Lafourche Airport to design drainage improvements under FAA grant

South Lafourche Airport to design drainage improvements under FAA grant

The South Lafourche Airport in Galliano recently received a portion of $25.6 million in grant money distributed in Louisiana from the Federal Aviation Administration.

The grant was split between 13 airports in the state through the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development. The state is also matching more than $2.8 million for the program.

The South Lafourche Leonard Miller Jr. Airport will receive $54,000 to design drainage improvements that have hindered the south side of the airfield, Airport Manager Richard Osborne said.

Once the designs are complete, the project will cost another several hundred thousand dollars to complete next year, he said.

“This Federal investment will allow us to continue to grow the airport sustainably well in to the future,” said Chett Chiasson, executive director of the Greater Lafourche Port Commission and South Lafourche Airport.

The FAA awarded $25.6 million as part of the 2018 Airport Improvement Program grants using $3.18 billion in funding provided by Congress for airports across the country, a LADOTD press release states.

“We’re grateful to receive this grant for airport improvements all across our state,” LADOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson said. “Air travel is an essential part of the state’s infrastructure, and we owe it to the traveling public to provide safe, high-quality airports. As always, we’re dedicated to continuing the search for alternate means of funding to improve the quality of life of our citizens and visitors.”

The money will be used for various airport infrastructure projects, including runway, safety, terminal and airport drainage projects.

In South Lafourche, last year’s storms nearly shut down the airport due to the drainage problems at the south end of the runway, Osborne said.

While helicopters can work around the flooding, other aircraft cannot, he said.

The airport is surrounded by a levee system that pumps water from a drainage canal. As it stands now, water on the south side of the property isn’t making it to the drainage canal, Osborne said.

“There have been times where a lake has formed on the south side by the taxiways,” he said.

The issue has probably been going on for a number of years, but only became serious recently. With the new designs, Osborne said that he hopes the runways will remain dry, even at the end of a 100-year rain event.

“We greatly appreciate the continued investments in our airport, which have amounted to over $15 million in federal funding since 2001, and enabled us to make upgrades and invest about $15 million of our own funds at the airport to attract major private investments like Chevron’s $35 million Gulf of Mexico aviation logistics facility,” Chiasson said. “Attracting facilities like these bring jobs to our community, which is our core mission at the Port Commission.”

“This grant is a welcome addition to other funding mechanisms in place for Louisiana’s transportation system,” LADOTD Multimodal Commissioner Tommy Clark said.

-- Daily Comet Staff Writer Julia Arenstam can be reached at 448-7636 or Follow her on Twitter at @gingerale214.