Driveway to airport commerce

May. 28, 2013 @ 09:30 PM

Call it the taxiway to somewhere. 
Piedmont Triad International Airport leaders are working with state transportation officials to ensure that a new segment of interstate won’t cut off 800 to 900 acres of airport land that could become the home of major aviation employers.
When a new segment of Interstate 73 cuts through the airport’s northern edge, PTIA leaders want the N.C. Department of Transportation to have a taxiway bridge over the expressway. PTIA Executive Director Kevin Baker terms the half-mile-long taxiway to the northern part of the airport property a “driveway to connect to commerce.”
The taxiway would connect with the newest runway at PTIA, allowing for aviation companies to have access to the runway from the northern tip of airport land bordered by Pleasant Ridge Road and Old Oak Ridge Road.
At its monthly meeting Tuesday afternoon, the Piedmont Triad Airport Authority voted unanimously to spend $142,000 on a site assessment for the taxiway bridge. The completion of what’s formally known as an environmental assessment would satisfy federal rules so the airport could qualify in the future for federal funding for the taxiway.
Baker told The High Point Enterprise following the meeting that there’s no time frame for building the new taxiway.
Without the bridge, however, the 800 to 900 acres of airport land would be cut off from airplane access from the rest of PTIA by the new segment of I-73, said Baker and Henry Isaacson, the chairman of the airport’s governing board.
The new segment I-73 would extend from the Greensboro Urban Loop expressway just east of the airport, then slice through the airport property before connecting with N.C. 68 at Pleasant Ridge Road near Summerfield.
Isaacson said new Republican Gov. Pat McCrory and the GOP leadership of the N.C. General Assembly have supported the completion of I-73 on a fast track, meaning the interstate segment at PTIA could be completed by the middle of this decade.

pjohnson@hpe.com | 888-3528