Approval of a $5.2 million federal grant will allow construction to begin this fall on a new taxiway at The Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids.
The discretionary funding from the Federal Aviation Administration's airport improvement program (AIP) had been in doubt due to the potential effect of the federal budget sequestration.
The FAA will pay for 90 percent of the construction of taxiway E, which will be parallel with the crosswind runway at the airport.
The Cedar Rapids Airport Commission on Aug. 6 approved Streb Construction's low bid of $4.95 million to build taxiway E and related connections to the airport's ramp. The Iowa City company's bid was less than the engineer's estimate of $5,247,712.
Airport Director Tim Bradshaw said approval of the AIP grant will allow clearing and grading work to start before winter weather halts construction until spring. The new taxiway likely will be completed in the fall of 2014, he added.
"If we had not received the grant, it would have moved the project back to 2018," Bradshaw said.
Taxiway E will provide easier access to the northwest end of the runway 13/31 and allow taxiing aircraft to further separate from ramp areas. Currently used by aircraft entering or leaving the runway, the taxiway likely would transition to general aviation use.The commission received four bids for the project, with the lowest bid just above $4 million and the other three above $5 million. The FAA must concur with the commission in the awarding of the contract to Streb Construction.