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Barnesville-Bradford Airport to grow

T-L Photos/ROBERT A. DEFRANK ABOVE: Jeff Britton, vice president of Belmont County Regional Airport Authority, describes what the airport will look like after new hangars and an upgraded runway, funded by the FAA. He said the airport is seeing more demand.

BARNESVILLE — The Barnesville-Bradford Airport is doubling in operations and activities, thanks to a funding windfall.

Jeff Britton, vice president of Belmont County Regional Airport Authority, said the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act will pay for 100 percent of the work.

“We received a $3 million grant from the (Federal Aviation Administration) to relocate our access road into the airport and also repave our 4,000-foot runway,” he said. “It was something we didn’t even know we were getting.”

Britton said the FAA received about $100 million from the CARES Act and decided to completely fund any current project.

“That was their contribution to help stimulate the economy and keep people working,” he said.

“The purpose of the access road relocation is to eliminate our last safety concern that the FAA had. Currently our access road is too close to the end of the runway. With the relocation, what visitors will notice is the entrance will be the same, but the road will actually turn to the west and loop around the end of the runway more than it does now to access the airport property,” Britton said.

He added the runway’s current asphalt conditions are below aviation standards.

“With the repaving, those will be brought up to standard and our pilots will notice a better, smoother runway,” he said.

He said the project should begin in the spring with a timeframe of six months.

Britton said demand for the airport’s services has gone up as one more part of the economic interest in Belmont County that has come with the oil and gas industry.

“With oil and gas, obviously the number of flights have increased somewhat. Our fuel cells have increased,” he said. “Where we’re seeing an opportunity to expand is the addition of new hangars and pilots hangaring their planes here.”

Britton said the airport hosts small, private planes.

“Most of it with oil and gas is company executives flying in to tour facilities and areas that are related to oil and gas,” he said. “Not so much transportation of product or materials or supplies.”

He said 11 aircraft are hangared at the airport. Once the project is complete, the board will seek funding to build two more hangars to house up to 10 additional planes.

“We can’t drop below 10 aircraft … we’ll lose funding, so it’s important for us to keep that airplane number up, and one of the key ways to do that is to build some additional hangars,” he said.

The Belmont County Board of Commissioners toured the airport Thursday and heard an update from Britton and Curt Hallstrom of the airport authority board about the airport and its future.

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