Airport to upgrade security measures with grant funding

GWINN — An Upper Peninsula airport will undergo some maintenance repairs thanks in part to a six–figure grant they received this week.

Sawyer International airport received a grant for $702,900 from the Federal Aviation Administration. The money will go towards new locks and security measures for the airport’s perimeter as well as some work on the runway.

The airport’s runway is currently 13,000 feet long.  Airport Director of Operations Steve Schenden says the grant money will resurface 9,000 feet of the runaway.

“The advantage of getting the pavement redone before we shorten the runway is we can shutdown half of the runway, work on it and still maintain commercial traffic,” said Schenden. “We’re lucky out here. The pavement holds up really well. We don’t have a lot frost damage or anything, but it is time to get it re–done. It does wear out and the weather takes its toll on it.”

“The airlines are talking about going to bigger planes here and if we do that, we’re going to have to increase our security measures at the airport,” he added. “It’s a new proximity card system, so we’ll know who’s coming and who’s going at the airport, including what time they came and left.”

Schenden added that the airport’s runway will eventually be shortened to 9,000 feet. The runway–resurfacing project is expected to begin sometime in 2016.

U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters announced the grant money for the airport Monday.

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