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Feds announce nearly $9M for Sault Airport safety upgrades

It was announced today that the federal government is providing $8,966,913 in funding to the Sault Ste. Marie Airport Development Corporation for facility safety upgrades. A news release issued today by the office of Sault Ste.
20200301-Sault Ste. Marie Airport, winter, stock-DT-01
File photo. Darren Taylor/SooToday

It was announced today that the federal government is providing $8,966,913 in funding to the Sault Ste. Marie Airport Development Corporation for facility safety upgrades.

A news release issued today by the office of Sault Ste. Marie MP Terry Sheehan states that $2,717,195 of that funding is earmarked for airport drainage rehabilitation and $6,249,718 will be used for runway 4-22 and associated taxiways rehabilitation (second runway).

The funding is being provided through Transport Canada’s Airports Capital Assistance Program (ACAP).

“The Sault Ste. Marie Airport is an important hub for residents and businesses in this region," Sheehan says in the release. "This investment will help ensure continued safe and reliable airport operations for Sault Ste. Marie and area residents, many of whom depend on their local airports not only for personal travel and community resupply, but also for access to routine and emergency medical care in larger centres."

Full text of the news release follows:

From traveling to medical appointments, getting goods to market, distributing PPE and medical supplies, or delivering vaccines, Canadians rely on safe and well-maintained local airports to support vibrant communities. These airports also provide essential air services, more so during this Covid-19 pandemic, including community resupply, air ambulance, search and rescue, and forest fire response.

Terry Sheehan, Member of Parliament for Sault Ste. Marie, on behalf of the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, today announced that the Government of Canada is making important safety investments at the Sault Ste. Marie Airport.

Through Transport Canada’s Airports Capital Assistance Program (ACAP), the Government of Canada will provide $2,717,195 to Sault Ste. Marie Airport for Airport Drainage Rehabilitation. The Government of Canada will also provide $6,249,718 to Sault Ste. Marie Airport for Runway 4- 22 and Associated Taxiways Rehabilitation (2nd runway). This is a total of $8,966,913 that will contribute to the rehabilitation of Sault Ste. Marie’s airport.

The Airport Drainage Rehabilitation project includes the replacement of 9,054m of pipe for the sub-drain system (60 years old) for runways 04-22 and 12-30, all taxiways, and the apron. The project will also consist of replacing 113 manholes and airfield drainage ditches (55 years old). Currently, the condition of the subsurface pipes range between good, poor, and critical.

The project only includes the portions of the drainage that have poor and critical pipes. The improper drainage of water can lead to problems with pavement performance such as heaving and sagging. The replacement of the pipes will protect the pavement surfaces from water saturation, which may otherwise render parts of the pavement unsafe for use.  

The Runway 4-22 and Associated Taxiways Rehabilitation (2nd runway) includes rehabilitation of runway 4-22, taxiways B, C, and J. The runway pavement surfaces are close to 60 years old, and technical assessments indicate various levels of pavement cracking ranging from low to high severity. The scope of the project includes the replacement of the runway and taxiway edge lighting, seven guidance signs, two windsocks, omnidirectional approach lighting system, and the precision approach path indicators. The lighting will be replaced due to the runway narrowing. The rehabilitation of the pavement will include narrowing the runway from 60m to 45m to be compliant with TP312 (5th edition).

In addition to these funds, the federal government approved $64,849 for the purchase of a new material combo spreader for the airport.

“The Sault Ste. Marie Airport is an important hub for residents and businesses in this region. This investment will help ensure continued safe and reliable airport operations for Sault Ste. Marie and area residents, many of whom depend on their local airports not only for personal travel and community resupply, but also for access to routine and emergency medical care in larger centres.” - Terry Sheehan, Member of Parliament for Sault Ste. Marie

“Our Government recognizes that airports are major contributors to the economic growth and social well-being of smaller communities. In addition to supporting personal travel, local airports are key connectors for business, health care, social services, and emerging resource development sectors. These investments will improve access to safe, reliable, and efficient air transportation options, and will help us deliver our promise to build safer, healthier, and stronger communities across Canada. This is more important than ever as we reopen our economies affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.” - The Honourable Omar Alghabra, Minister of Transport

“The SSMADC is very pleased to hear this ACAP funding announcement, and we are very much looking forward to working with ACAP for the completion of this project. We have been pushing hard for this project for many years now and due to the new pandemic relief efforts put in place by Transport Canada, funding is now available for this much needed safety project. We thank the Federal Government for recognizing the vital role that airports play in being economic drivers for their communities. A big thank-you goes to Minister Alghabra, and our Member of Parliament Terry Sheehan for making this major project a reality.” - Terry Bos, president and CEO, Sault Ste. Marie Airport Development Corporation

Quick facts:
    •    As announced in the Fall Economic Statement (FES) 2020, the Airports Capital Assistance Program received a one-time funding top-up of $186 million over two years.
    •    As well, the FES announced the temporary expansion of eligibility for the Airports Capital Assistance Program to allow National Airport System (NAS) airports with less than one million annual passengers in 2019 to apply for funding under the Program in 2021-2022 and 2022-2023.