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April 10, 2014

Land swap will lead to new entrance for Indiana Air Guard base

FAA must approve property transfer

TERRE HAUTE — A property swap will allow the Indiana Department of Transportation to construct a road that will serve as a new entrance to the Indiana Air National Guard base at the Terre Haute International Airport-Hulman Field.

Officials with Terre Haute International Airport-Hulman Field have petitioned the Federal Aviation Administration to change about 6 acres of airport property to non-aeronautical use and authorize transfer of airport property to INDOT.

In exchange, INDOT will transfer about 2 acres to the airport, which includes an extension of Indiana 342 (Chamberlain Road), south of Indiana 42, which currently serves as the entrance road to the adjoining Indiana Air National Guard Base.

INDOT can then construct a new base road to be build about a half mile to the east of Chamberlain Road, off of a recently constructed roundabout on Indiana 42.

“We own the property where the new road is going, but we have to get FAA approval before we can transfer any property. INDOT has to hold title to the property before they will build the road, and INDOT is funding the road,” said Bill Foraker, airport interim executive director.

“The old gate to the Air Guard didn’t employ any of their new security measures. There is a new temporary gate there now, but this will allow them to install a new permanent gate that upgrades to the new security standards,” Foraker said.

The land swap will convert a portion of Chamberlain Road into a private maintenance service road. That will remove the road from a Runway Protection Zone at the end of Runway 23.

“The zone is like a trapezoid in space that comes off at the approach end of a runway. The FAA has had rare occasions in other airports where roads that go under those approaches have had airplanes run into cars,” Foraker said.

The FAA, in annual inspections, has requested the road be closed. “We could not close it, as the National Guard has to get to work,” Foraker said.

There is also a third benefit to the new road: It will provide access to a nearly $8 million, 30,000-square-foot field maintenance shop under construction for the Indiana Army National Guard adjacent to the airport.

The FAA published a “notice of intent of waiver with respect to land” for the airport April 3. The notice states that [Indiana] 342 “is the primary access to the Indiana Air National Guard base at the airport and is the connector road between Frye Road and [Indiana] 42. INDOT will use the parcel for construction of Swalls Road, making it the connector to [Indiana] 42 from Frye Road maintaining access to the Indiana Air National Guard base.”

The FAA is taking comments on the land swap until May 5. FAA documents are available for review at the airport. Documents, as well as information on the comment period, can also be found at https://federalregister.gov/a/2014-07463.

Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at 812-231-4204 or howard.greninger@tribstar.com.

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