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OPBA begins laying out Ogdensburg airport runway expansion

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The Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority has signed an agreement with McFarland Johnson, Binghamton, to provide preliminary design and assess the environmental impacts for a proposed runway extension and other improvements at Ogdensburg International Airport, as well as realignment of Route 68 to accommodate the runway.

The preliminary design is one of many stages of a $10 million project to expand the airport.

The project is part of a long-term plan to attract larger air service carriers, thereby increasing the number of passengers flying out of Ogdensburg.

OBPA officials have said the expansion could result in an additional 40,000 passengers at the airport each year. Many of those travelers are expected to be Canadians who are increasingly turning to U.S. airports for cheaper fares.

The airport’s runway will be extended by 1,200 feet, and the terminal will be upgraded and hooked up to city water service. The OBPA board in December purchased 8.13 acres of land along Route 812 from the Ogdensburg Volunteer Rescue Squad to accommodate a water line connecting the airport to the city’s water system.

As part of the expansion, approximately 2,000 feet of Route 68 will be relocated 250 feet away from its current path to accommodate new fencing around the runway.

The construction should not result in closing down Route 68, OBPA Executive Director Wade A. Davis said Friday.

The environmental assessment will look at the impact of the physical changes in and around the airport. Environmental assessments are “routine” in any major construction project, Mr. Davis said.

The preliminary design is one of many “multi pronged” efforts currently undertaken by the OBPA to expand the airport within the next two years, Mr. Davis said.

The process usually takes 10 years to complete, he said.

“There are multiple steps being taken, but it is a significant step forward,” Mr. Davis said. “The Authority is accelerating the process to stimulate the regional economy and add to the local tax base.”

The assessment and preliminary design will cost $567,723, and should be completed in 16 months. A representative from McFarland Johnson did not respond to a request for comment Friday.

The project will require approval from the Federal Aviation Administration and the state Department of Environmental Conservation. Last summer, the authority received a $3,103,654 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Improvement Program to repave the airport’s runway beginning in the spring. The authority has also applied for $5,624,775 from the FAA for the runway extension.

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