Government
5:05 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Peoria airport closer to getting new control tower

The General Wayne Downing Peoria International Airport is a step closer to having a state-of-the-art control tower. The Metropolitan Airport Authority approved a contract with a Chicago architecture and engineering firm to design the structure. 

The current facility is housed in the tall portion of the old terminal building. Airport Director Gene Olson says it doesn’t meet federal requirements.

      “The building basically meets the criteria from 1959. For example, the eye height where the controllers are standing looking out at the airfield is about 87-feet high, and that doesn’t meet today’s standards. So, our new tower is going to be closer to 135, 137 feet.”

 Olson says the HVAC system also only heats and cools the spaces occupied by air traffic control functions. He says the project has been in the works for the last three and a half years. However it was most recently stalled after money was diverted from the Federal Aviation Administration during budget cuts last year. 

 The design phase is expected to take 18 months. Construction can’t begin until the FAA finds the money to fund the estimated 15 to 20 million dollar project.