Metro-East News

MidAmerica Airport parking expansion approved

Allegiant is adding more flights at MidAmerica; hence the need for more parking spots, officials say.
Allegiant is adding more flights at MidAmerica; hence the need for more parking spots, officials say.

Plans to expand the parking lot at MidAmerica Airport were approved this week by the St. Clair County Public Building Commission.

The plan put together by Impact Strategies is to add 277 new spaces at the airport at a cost not to exceed $588,076.

The additional spaces will expand the parking lot to 841 spots.

Airport Director Tim Cantwell said Impact Strategies, which designed the plans and will lead the building process, will bid out the subcontracts of the project.

Cantwell said some preliminary work has begun, and under the contract work has to be substantially completed by June 1.

The airport needs to expand the number of parking spaces because it is adding flights.

Allegiant is beginning a twice-weekly flight to Jacksonville, Fla., in May, and a three-times-a-week flight to Destin/Fort Walton Beach begins in June.

That brings the total number of routes to six for the county-owned airport.

Even before those flights begin, the airport’s parking lot has 340 spots occupied at peak times. With six routes, demand is expected to reach 792 spots, according to county documents.

“It’s still crowded,” Cantwell said.

With the increase in routes out of the airport, the PBC approved buying four covered baggage carts used to carry luggage on the tarmac when it is brought to and from an aircraft.

Passenger destinations have increased, according to a presentation to commissioners, and passenger bags have increased. Overlap of flight operations require more baggage storage to ensure consolidated holding for correct flight.

Buying four covered carts from Fast Global Solutions was approved by the PBC for a cost not to exceed $13,000.

Currently there are three covered carts and four uncovered carts at the airport, Cantwell said.

The airport also plans to replace 33 out of 51 airfield signs to bring them up-to-date to Federal Aviation Administration standards. The project includes changing sign legends, adding modules, adding roadway vehicle signs and replacing a central wind cone, according to county documents.

The project is set to cost $184,700 and will be carried out by J.F. Edwards Construction Company. The federal government is set to pay for 90 percent of the project; 5 percent will come from the state, and 5 percent from local funding.

Engineers estimated the cost would have been $195,000.

Joseph Bustos: 618-239-2451, @JoeBReporter