A Ground Breaking Ceremony for the next stage of the 1996 Airports Master Plan was conducted on May 5, 2011 at the Marco Island Executive Airport just off island on Mainsail Drive. Work on the $7 million taxiway project is scheduled to begin on May 9 and expected completion is by April, 2012. DeAngelis Diamond Construction, Inc. is the general contractor and URS Corporation, the design engineer.
Chris Curry, Executive Director of the Airport Authority welcomed invited dignitaries and guests to the event and described the efforts which preceded the long awaited ceremony. In 1996 an Airports Master Plan included recommendations for expansion of the Marco airport to insure safety and provide much needed independent taxi space for planes arriving and preparing to depart. A parallel taxiway was a keystone of the plan and was preceded by earlier work stages which created a North Aircraft Apron and Relocated Vehicle Parking Area.
When the new taxiway is completed the main runway will be free to handle take-offs and landings and will avoid “back tracking” on an active runway. Although there is no history of incidentsa General Aviation facility requires safe and adequate facilities to attract visiting aircraft and maintain an accident free record.
Due to the expected impact on regulated mangrove wetlands an extensive permitting process began with both state and federal agencies. A mitigation plan, known as the “Trash Road Mitigation Plan” was developed in cooperation with consultants, the DEP, US Army Corps of Engineers and Airport Authority personnel. With permits in hand, funding was obtained from a Federal Aviation Administration grant for more than $6 million with the balance of funds from the Federal Department of Transportation and Collier County.
Collier County Commissioners Donna Fiala and Jim Coletta joined Curry, Bob Tweedie, Marco Island Airport Manager, Collier County Manager, Leo Ochs, Airport Authority Manager, Lloyd Byerhof and representatives of Congress and State Representatives for groundbreaking ceremonies. The Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) was represented by Krystal Ritchie of the FAA Orlando Airports District Office.
Donna Fiala received high praise from her colleague, Jim Coletta. “Times are tough. It’s been a long time since I have been to a ground breaking. …If it wasn’t for Donna we would not be herenow.”
Donna praised the hard work and efforts of all the participants in the expansion of the airport. “This taxiway is one of the best things that could happen to the Marco Island Airport. It has been a long time coming and state and federal permitting have been a challenge. Now that the funding is in place we can move forward. The Marco airport is the busiest of all the County owned airports and this great new addition will add even more business to the area. It’s all very exciting indeed!”
Monte Lazarus, former Chairman of the Collier County Airport Authority said: “This is a very significant day for past members of the Airport Authority who labored for almost eight years to get the taxiway. It is also a tribute to previous directors, John Drury and Theresa Cook, who devoted many hours to procuring sign offs from numerous environmental groups and developing the taxiway project. For years, Marco Island Executive Airport was the only public airport in Florida with a 5000’ runway, but without a taxiway. The addition of the taxiway will be a tremendous boon to safety at the airport.”