The Murfreesboro City Council Thursday (9/23/16) unanimously approved a contract for tree clearing of runway approaches to the Murfreesboro Municipal Airport. The Murfreesboro Airport Commission had earlier approved the contract with Queens Tree Surgery, Inc. for $110,242. A federal and state funded grant will assist with 95 percent of the cost or $104,730.
"These improvements will allow for a clear and nearly maintenance free approach for Runway 18 into the Murfreesboro Municipal Airport," said Airport Manager Chad L. Gehrke. "As a federally funded airport, the City continues its efforts to satisfy its Federal Grant Assurances providing and maintaining safe and navigable approaches along with other protective airport surfaces."
The planned tree clearing project follows a study by the Tennessee Department of Transportation-Division of Aeronautics and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as part of the Runway Extension Project. The survey identified approximately 18 trees on 1.32 acres on the southeast corner of the State Farm property and recommended tree removal. According to the Division of Aeronautics and the FAA, the trees are penetrating the various approach surfaces for Runway 18.
"The understanding and cooperation of our neighbors has been tremendous and the key to the success of this project," Gehrke wrote in a letter to the City Council. "To do our part as a good neighbor, the Airport Commission and City made it a priority to minimize any disturbance of the extremely well-manicured State Farm campus."
Queens Tree Surgery will replace removed trees with low-growing trees similar to existing landscaping.
The federally funded Approach Lighting and Clearing Project began in May 2015 with a four-month runway extension and lighting improvement project. While work on Runway 18/36 was completed last October, the Airport Commission does not expect the new approaches to be published to the FAA until November at the earliest.
ATKINS Engineering has served as consultant for the improvements which included the construction of a new taxiway connectors "A2" and A3" and a new LED airfield lighting system.
The City Council approved the $4.5 million contract with LoJac Enterprises for the Runway Extension Project on March 16, 2015. Grant funding for the project is a combination of federal, state and local funds. The majority of state funding stems from the Airfield Pavement Overlay Project. Local funding is provided through Capital Improvement Project (CIP) funds and annual Debt Service payments.
The Murfreesboro Municipal Airport, located at 1930 Memorial Boulevard, Murfreesboro, TN, 37129, is a general aviation airport serving Middle Tennessee. The airport's largest tenant is the Aerospace Department of Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU), one of the top schools for aviation in the nation.