WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The second phase of a multi-million dollar project to renovate a runway at Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield is now underway.
Last summer, the first phase of the project took place, with the repaving and reconstruction of the runway at Barnes. On Tuesday, a groundbreaking ceremony took place for the second part of the project: work on the runway’s parking apron, or ramp.
The old ramp is deteriorating, and generates more foreign object damage; making it potentially hazardous to plane engines. Vice Commander Ken Lambrich of the 104th Fighter Wing says that the new ramp will alleviate that stress, and make it much easier to operate.
“It’s a huge win for the 104th. A little bit of pain up front as we shift operations around during the construction, but its short term and the end result is to make us a lot more viable for the long term in the future,” Lambrich said.
There will also be an oil water separator upgrade, which will make it safer for the aquifer underneath the airport.
Phase two will be a two month project that will cost about $8 million. About $2.5 million came from the Air National Guard Bureau and the other $5.5 million is from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, through a state bond bill.