sikosky-airport-imageThis well anticipated project was supposed to open a new era of air travel at Sikorsky Memorial Airport.

The safety upgrades have been stalled for months at the Stratford-based, Bridgeport-owned Sikorsky airport due to an ongoing federal review prompted by a contractor’s oversight and worsened by airport management problems.

Money Lost for Sikorsky Airport

One city official stated that this airport already operates at a $500,000 yearly loss, with its primary runway out of service for the past eight months. This airport only has two runways to begin with.

airport-construction-image “This is a $43 million project,” said David Faile, president of the Friends of Sikorsky organization. “And all we have to show for it right now is (nearby) Main Street has been rebuilt (and) they rehabilitated a bunch of marshlands and wetlands, so we have turtle breeding grounds.

John Ricci, who oversees Sikorsky as the new head of Bridgeport’s public facilities department, is in hopes that the Federal Aviation Administration’s work stoppage order issued last Labor Day weekend will be lifted by June 6. Ricci assured us that he will do everything in his power to get this airport back as to bring convenience to its neighboring residents.

The targeted work amount is currently 65 days with no more bumps in the road.

Importance for upgrades at Sikorsky

Wondering what the need for the safety upgrades at the Sikorsky Airport were? The safety work was drawn by the death of eight people in a 1994 plane crash.

There were many complications involved in this long drawn out project. Much time and preparation went into effect before the actual project began in 2014. Some of the main issues included the realignment of nearby Route 113 — Main Street — in Stratford to install a bed of concrete-like material designed to decelerate aircraft that overshoots the runway. Also in need were an entailed runway reconstruction, an upgraded drainage system and removal of hazardous waste.

Sikorsky sees some major bumps in the road

The project was briefly halted on more than one occasion. First, last June after a construction worker was killed when the gas-powered saw he was using kicked back and struck him in the neck. Then another contractor, over Labor Day weekend, allegedly drove a truck through an area where planes taxi. No one was in danger, but the so-called incursion alarmed the FAA. At that point, the main work left was the runway reconstruction.

With further investigation they found a number of items that were out of order including poor records for maintenance, inspection and training. He said the FAA also wanted some physical improvements to the airport, with better security among them.

One thing is for sure. While waiting on this airport to be ready for business, you can always count on a Stratford limo for your transportation needs.


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