Wellington and Oxford Airports will be getting upgrades thanks to some state money.


Wellington and Oxford Airports will be getting upgrades thanks to some state money.
The Kansas Department of Transportation has selected 37 projects from across the state to be included as part of the 2010 Kansas Airport Improvement Program.
KDOT will contribute $3.54 million in funding for the projects and with local matching funds of approximately $2.57 million the total infrastructure investment will be $6.1 million. The projects will address maintenance, runway, facility and equipment needs at non-primary public-use airports in Kansas. These are airports in the state that are classified as having less than 10,000 passenger boarding’s per year.
Among the 37 projects selected, there are 18 maintenance projects, 17 equipment projects, one geometric project and one planning project, KDOT says.
Wellington Municipal Airport will see an upgrade in its airport weather observation system for the Internet. while Oxford will get a complete reconstruction of its runway, KDOT reports. The projects will be funded 90 percent by the state. The remaining 10 percent will be paid by the respective airport.
Wellington Municipal Airport Manager Patrick Hamlin says the Automated Weather Observation Station (AWOS) gives the up to the minute updates on winds, dew point, barometer, density, altitude, visibility and ceiling for pilots in the area.
“What the Internet does is basically takes what pilots do over the radio and gives it its own special website and that way when pilots are doing flight planning and they want to check the weather down here before they come, they check the Internet...and they got all the instant weather,” Hamlin said.
The real-time updates every 30 seconds and will slowly get rid of the old system of calling ahead.
“It’s another tool to find out the weather conditions here...it’s coming to the point where anything aviation can be done online and anything that can be done over the phone is now dying off,” Hamlin said.
Oxford will receive $750,000 for the complete reconstruction of their runway, City Clerk Betty Oliver said.
The runway will be reconstructed starting all the way at the base and rebuilt back up, Oliver said. Asphalt will be removed and restabilization with a rock base installed and a new covering placed over that, Oliver said.
When the runway was original put in place the base wasn’t enough to hold it, Oliver said, and government officials knew the reconstruction was inevitable.
“It’s been crawling and moving all these years so the FAA says if you are going to fix it, let’s go back and fix it the right way,” said Oliver. “They do annual inspections on you and they know what you can do and what you can’t do financially. I think we were the biggest project awarded,”
The runway was put in about 20 years ago, with the base giving the runway more and more trouble over the years. The city proposed building a parallel runway, but in the end, the state wanted the original rebuilt.
The airport is used as a touch and go spot between The Wellington Municipal Airport and Strother’s Field in Winfield, Oliver said.
The project could start as soon as next Spring and it’s uncertain when the project would be completed, though it must be finished two years after it is started, Oliver said.