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Santa Maria Airport project to increase safety

Parts of the Santa Maria Airport are getting a new look. A construction project in the works for years is now a reality.

“This is part of our airport improvement project,” says Chris Hastert, the General Manager for the Santa Maria Public Airport District.

Bulldozers are digging up areas of decades-old, cracked asphalt.

“Its seen a lot of wear and tear throughout the years,” says Hastert.

Now, the goal is to make this area a safer place for planes and for people.

“A complete rehabilitation of our terminal apron where aircraft park, where equipment is stored and where passengers travel between the airport and airplanes,” says Hastert.

The estimated $4.2 million project is mostly being funded by a grant from the FAA. Airport officials say it will revitalize the area.

“We want to have a safe environment for them to park, without rocks, and debris and being sucked into engines, people tripping over cracks,” he says.

Right now there is a section that is complete. You are able to see the difference between that area and where the remaining cracked asphalt is.

“The first couple of phases involve getting the passengers back and forth to the aircraft during major construction,” he says.

Airport officials say this project here is expected to be completed by the summer. The construction is expected to be halted for a short time when it rains.

“We don’t want to do that in the rainy season because we could have a big bathtub out here and not be able to work with wet soil conditions,” he says.

Construction will not impact any traveling schedules.

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