Marksville Municipal Airport receives grant to overlay runway

Good news: Marksville Municipal Airport was awarded almost $1.7 million to overlay its 3,800-foot runway.

Bad news: Once the project starts, the airport will be closed for 4-6 months.

The Federal Aviation Administration announced July 3 that the Avoyelles Parish Airport Authority will receive $1,678,722 for the project.

“This is just to repair what’s there,” Airport Authority Chairman Rene Borrel said.

Borrel said he was “pleasantly surprised” when he got the approval notice from FAA.

“I really didn’t think they would approve the application that quickly,” Borrel said, adding that he is glad the grant was awarded “sooner rather than later.”

The work should begin this fall and be finished early next year, he said.

“If we have good weather, it could be finished in four months,” Borrel said. “If its normal weather, it will probably take six months.”

Borrel said airplane owners will have to move their planes during that time “because the airport will be completely shut down. It will be a terrible inconvenience, but it is necessary.”

Borrel said it has been 20 years since the last overlay of the runway.

“In fact, the only fatality at the Marksville Airport occurred during that overlay project,” he continued. “A small plane attempted to land on the obviously closed runway. There was a dirt pile in the middle of the runway and the plane hit it, killing two people and their dog that was in the plane.”

ABRAHAM CONGRATULATIONS

U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham added his congratulations for the grant award.

“Our municipal and regional airports play a vital role in the economic health of our local communities,” Abraham said. “I’m glad to see these federal dollars heading to Marksville so that its runway can continue to be sound for years to come.”

Borrel said this project is not related to the airport’s proposal to extend the runway by 1,200 feet. He said a 5,000-foot runway would enable small commercial jets to land at the airport.

“We can already serve small jets, but extending the runway will allow larger jets -- not 747s or anything that large -- but small commercial jets,” he said.

The overlay project will involve stripping away the old asphalt, re-compacting the soil and then putting down new asphalt.

“It is an expensive operation and we are fortunate to have been awarded this grant,” Borrel said.

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