Did the FAA overlook gravel runway infrastructure in its latest round of grants? The answer is yes, but we have a fix!
Whenever you think about a visit to the airport, you may already find yourself filled with dread. Culturally, many people view airports with disdain, already imagining cramped terminals, cancelled flights, and subpar cuisine. In recent years, even beyond the interior, airport infrastructure like runways have also noticeably begun crumbling with time, calling the safety of many flights into question.
In an effort to address these growing concerns, the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced this summer that it is allocating $518 million in grants for airport infrastructure improvements. The assistance is a culmination of 416 grants that target specific projects across numerous airports nationwide. Some of the central aims include upgrading terminals as well as massive improvements for field equipment and runways.
In the FAA’s announcement for the financial support, US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg stated, “In communities of all sizes, airports are vital to local economies, sustaining jobs, and getting people goods where they need to go. We’re pleased to announce this important funding to help improve airports around the country and better serve all Americans.”
While it’s true that airplanes represent an important link in our American economy, connecting people and industries together, the project neglects a crucial aspect of aviation: gravel runways.
Though gravel runways are not the common image that comes to mind when someone thinks of the economy or common travel, they still play a critical role in the lives of many Americans as well as thousands of other individuals all across the world who live somewhere that is geographically difficult to reach.
Gravel runway infrastructure takes the road less traveled
Though not the first thing to come to mind when you hear “aviation,” gravel runways are often the choice for airports residing in small remote locations. These airstrips play a critical role in granting access to supplies and transportation to distant places like Alaska and can often serve as the critical artery to that region’s economy.
But why gravel over other materials? They’re rather inexpensive to construct and require a lower level of maintenance than asphalt or concrete runways. But due to their tendency to accommodate remote areas, it usually correlates to harsher climates, leading to more complicated upkeep.
While significantly less expensive than other runaway accommodations, the maintenance on gravel runway infrastructure can still add up. Compared to asphalt, gravel is inherently looser and subject to more shifting material that generates weak spots, especially with heavy traffic. Unlike asphalt, fortunately these spots are containable and treatable. For more information regarding the challenges of a deteriorating runway, check out our post, “A Quick Rundown of Gravel Runways”.
Despite their critical role in many people’s lives, gravel runaways were not offered any financial assistance from the allocation package distributed by the Department of Transportation. But even without government grants, there is still an affordable solution to maintaining these vital airstrips.
Midwest’s SECUR® Stabilization system can keep you up and running
When you partner with Midwest Industrial Supply, you are working with over 40 years of experience providing effective solutions for an array of clients and environments, including small airports. Solutions like our SECUR® stabilization system work to extend the lifespan of your gravel runway infrastructure using custom stabilization strategies to keep the gravel and dust locked to the surface and your airport fully operational year-round.
The fundamental factor of the SECUR® Stabilization System is the EK35 chemical component. EK35 is a Midwest patented synthetic fluid that is constructed into the upper 4-6” of the aggregate surface. As EK35 is blended into the surface, an irreversible chemical reaction takes place between the product and the aggregate particles, transforming it from a liquid to a solid. This installation process alongside the reaction cultivates a stabilized hard surface that can inhibit foreign object debris (FOD) as well as the full gambit of wear and tear.
When you’re handling a dangerous task like suppressing millions of individual fine dust particles, finding a precise solution is critical. EK35 is just one example of how Midwest crafts these meticulous solutions using the power of science. We work at the molecular level to deliver effective solutions like our SECUR® gravel runway system so you can trust that you’re operating in a safe environment.
Not only do we offer a quality product, but we simultaneously minimizing other costs associated with applying a gravel runway stabilization and dust control system. Midwest creates things to last. When Midwest applies product to site, we intend for it to last without the need for reapplication sessions that involve numerous equipment and labor or time away from your operation.