Cullman City Council moves forward on airport improvement project

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An architectural rendering of the runway rehabilitation project at Cullman Regional Airport (W.C. Mann for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – The Cullman City Council on Monday evening voted to apply for airport improvement funding assistance from the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT), for the purpose of making runway improvements at Cullman Regional Airport. Airport General Manager Ben Harrison told The Tribune this project is the “next phase” in the facility’s five-year improvement plan. 

While no safety issues were identified with the runway concerning its current aircraft loads, Harrison said it has “currently a few weak spots.” The planned improvement will alleviate those issues and allow the runway to handle heavier aircraft than it does at this time. One of the main goals of the overall project, from its inception, has been to enable all of the paved surfaces of the airport to support the weight of larger and heavier aircraft, to help make the Cullman area even more accessible and attractive to existing and potential future industries.

A current project to improve the taxiway adjacent to the runway is on pace to be completed in November. Harrison said the runway will be closed for approximately four months while the work takes place. Then, once the runway is finished, improvement of the apron (also known as the flight line or tarmac) is scheduled for fiscal year 2021.

After approving the resolution to apply for project funds, the council voted to sign a contract with Goodwyn, Mills & Cawood for professional engineering services related to the design of the runway rehabilitation in an amount not to exceed $149,251. According to Harrison, the firm’s engineers will determine exactly what work needs to be done to the runway before construction begins on the previously mentioned project.

Sewer system improvement grant sought

The council also approved a resolution authorizing Mayor Woody Jacobs to apply to the State Revolving Fund for a low-interest $7.1 million loan to make improvements to the City’s sewer system. The loan is for phase one of a four-part project estimated at a total of $28 million. That first phase will start in areas identified in a St. John & Associates study as the worst in the city.

The council tabled a motion to annex the Marathon gas station located at the intersection of Alabama Highway 157 and Alabama Highway 69 into the city limits, citing improvements to the site that still had to be completed.

Rick Fulmer recognized

The council also took a moment to recognize and congratulate City Planning and Zoning Director Rick Fulmer on his upcoming retirement this week after almost 21 years of service.

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W.C. Mann

craig@cullmantribune.com