With deteriorating surface conditions on the existing runway, a new landing surface has become a top priority for the Briggs Smith Memorial Airport west of Memphis. The City of Memphis is currently working to secure federal funding that would allow the construction of a new runway at the facility, possibly as soon as 2020.

Through the work of engineers Crawford, Murphy and Tilly (CMT), the city is seeking supplemental federal appropriations to help fund the proposed $2.9 million project. The facility annually received $150,000 federal funding through the Airport Improvement Program (AIP), which requires a 10% local match.

Recently those funds were utilized to construct new T-hangar taxi lanes as the airport works to relocate its existing hangars outside of the FAA runway protection zone at the west end of the runway. Future plans call for the construction of a new 12-unit T-hangar south of the old hangars and south of the new runway access taxi lane.

CMT has filed a supplemental appropriation request with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to seek funding for the runway rebuild. The proposal calls for replacing the 3,300 foot long landing strip with a slightly thicker surface.

The CMT proposal would use a 6 inch surface of Portland cement concrete pavement to rebuild the 60-foot wide runway to its current length, amassing roughly 24,000 square yards of concrete.

“The existing pavement is five inch Portland cement concrete on a subgrade, with no base rock present,” said engineer Brian Garkie. “Due to the lack of a proper base, the expansive nature of the underlying soil has caused the pavement to heave and crack.”

The proposal targets costs of nearly $400,000 for recycled course base and aggregate base rock, with more than $1.475 million in concrete costs. Engineering fees are expected to top $200,000 with mobilization costs and excavation of the existing surface making up the remainder of the estimated $2.9 million price tag.

The project is seeking Non-Primary Entitlement (NPE) funds to help offset the city’s 10% match on the AIP funds. Congress annually allocates $3.2 billion or more for NPE projects.

If sufficient supplemental funding can be secured, the airport will also seek to expand the existing taxiway apron to create additional tie-down positions for parked planes while offering added expansion room, partially to house a proposed 50×50 private hangar. The project proposes to roughly double the size of the existing apron, expanding to the south, with the  proposed hangar site to be located south of that expansion.

The proposal by CMT estimated the project cost at $340,000 for the roughly 75 x 250 additional apron and the 50×50 hangar site.

If funding is approved, the apron project could be constructed in the summer of 2019 with the runway project target construction date of May 2020.