Lake Charles Regional Airport to Receive $1 Million in Funding

Lake Charles Regional Airport will receive $1 million in funding under the CARES Act to help pay for the construction and installation of a canopy that will span three lanes for arrivals and departures.
Heath Allen, the airport’s executive director, said Friday that some of the CARES Act funding earmarked for the airport was changed at the federal level to be spent on the $4.12 million canopy project. The members of the airport’s board of directors chose Alfred Palma as their contractor.
The lack of a large enough canopy to protect travelers from the rain was one of the biggest complaints at the airport, Allen said.
“We tried to fix the problem with a small awning up front, but that didn’t work,” he said. “This new canopy will allow our travelers to load and unload their bags sheltered from the elements.”
Allen said the airport collectively received about $20 million from the CARES Act and two other federal sources aimed at relieving the COVID-19 pandemic. The money is spent on operations and capital improvements at the airport.
The canopy project is primarily funded federally through the CARES Act, as well as Airport Improvement Program funding, which the airport receives annually, Allen said. A state match is included, and a small amount of local funding through customer installation fees also covers the cost of the project.
Allen said the project has been tendered four times since 2020, with three significantly over budget due to nationwide supply chain issues and high construction costs. An attempt resulted in no offers. Some minor elements of the project were removed to reduce costs, but bids still returned higher than expected.
“It’s pretty typical for our offers to come back,” he said. “It’s a tough market for construction. We have hurricane recovery on top of that.
Allen said the project is progressing despite going over budget because federal funding must be spent within a certain time frame.
Allen said the canopy will be fabricated offsite. Activity at the airport is expected to begin within the next two weeks. The canopy is expected to arrive at the airport in late summer, he said. Additional works include a courtyard, seating area and lighting in front of the terminal.
Pittsburgh-based Michael Baker International designed the canopy, Allen said.

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