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PennDOT Pledges $900K for Upgrades to County Airport

By Jason Togyer
The Tube City Almanac
August 30, 2019
Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

A STAT MedEvac medical helicopter lands at Allegheny County Airport in West Mifflin. The facility is one of the busiest general aviation airports in Pennsylvania, with up to 75,000 takeoffs and landings every year, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. (Kevin A. Geiselman photo via Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons.)

A state grant will provide $900,000 to upgrade the terminal and apron area at Allegheny County Airport in West Mifflin.

The grant is being made by the state Department of Transportation's Aviation Transportation Assistance Program, Aviation Development Program and Multimodal Fund, state Sen. Jim Brewster said this week.

“Allegheny County Airport is a regional resource that enhances development potential throughout the Mon Valley,” Brewster said. “An improved airport, in addition to the new Mon-Fayette Expressway and other local economic projects, creates business development opportunities for the area.”

Opened in 1931, Allegheny County Airport is the largest general aviation airport in Western Pennsylvania, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Although it no longer handles scheduled commercial passenger flights, the 75,000 annual takeoffs and landings at the county airport are more than several Pennsylvania airports that do, the FAA said.

Besides serving as a base for private airplanes and corporate flights, Allegheny County Airport is also the headquarters for the regional STAT MedEvac medical helicopter service and the Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics, and also serves as the designated relief airport for Pittsburgh International in Findlay Twp.

Its main runway is well over one mile long and can accommodate multi-engine jetliners, including Air Force One.

The Allegheny County Airport Authority is beginning the third phase of a multi-year program of renovations and upgrades, said Bob Kerlik, vice president of media relations. The authority owns and operates Allegheny County Airport as well as Pittsburgh International Airport.

PennDOT’s $900,000 represents part of a $1.2 million plan to upgrade the airport terminal building area. The airport authority also has committed and budgeted $300,000 for the project, Kerlik said.

The project will include interior renovations to the terminal and re-design of the courtyard between the terminal building and the ramp area, according to the authority’s capital budget.

Designed in Art Deco style by architect Stanley L. Roush, with later additions by Henry Hornbostel, the terminal was granted historic landmark status by the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation in 1981.

Kerlik said the two previous phases of work at Allegheny County Airport included rehabilitation and restoration of the outside of both the terminal building and the nearby airport fire station; upgrades to restroom facilities; upgrades to the heating system at the airport’s maintenance facility; renovation of several hangars; and repairs and renovations to the inside of the fire station.

Design of the third phase, including the specific scope of the project, has not yet been completed, Kerlik said, but should be finished later this year, with construction to start early in 2020.

Construction contracts have not yet been awarded, and the authority will seek bids following completion of the design, he said.

(Shane Simmons photo via Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons.)

Jason Togyer is the editor of The Tube City Almanac and volunteer executive director of Tube City Community Media Inc. He may be reached at jtogyer@gmail.com.

Originally published August 30, 2019.

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