North Texas Regional Airport may soon have a new blueprint to future development. Airport officials said this week that work on a master plan for the former military based turned general aviation airport is currently ongoing and is expected to be completed sometime later this year.
The document — which will include collected data, goals for development and public input — will help guide future development at the airport for decades to come. Typically, this document is updated about every five to six years, but NTRA last revised its plan in 2011.
As a partner document to the study, airport officials are also currently conducting a pavement study to help determine what type of aircraft the airport should its focus toward.
“The purpose of that (master) plan is to look out long term — five, 10, 20 years out — and try to anticipate and plan for how you are doing to develop the remaining parts of your airport,” NTRA Director Mike Livezey said Thursday. “The whole west side is going to eventually be developed, but what are we going to have? As growth comes north, will we have a need for a big cargo facility like Alliance is? Are you going to use that infrastructure for ramp space?”
Conversation regarding the proposed plan gained traction in recent months in discussions of how to utilize grant funding from the Texas Department of Transportation Aviation Division over several years. Work on the document officially started on Dec. 4 with initial conversations with airport users.
“Generally most of the operators tell us that the airport services their needs fairly well now,” Livezey said. “Of course there were some concerns and there always will be.”
One of the recurring concerns that came from these initial talks was a persistent need for additional hangar space.
In addition to conversations with stakeholders, Livezey said he plans to form a resource group comprised of stakeholders, general aviation representatives, businesses, economic developers and members of the Regional Mobility Authority to assist. The effort will also include public information meetings, but Livezey said the process is still early on.
“Right now we are still gathering information on how many users, operations there are and trying to keep that up to date,” he said.
Alongside the master plan work, Livezey said the airport is undergoing a pavement study to determine the strength, thickness and condition of the airport’s infrastructure. By evaluating the pavement, Livezey said airport officials will have a better idea of what type of aircraft the runway can safely handle and allow airport staff to better market the space to these kinds of users.
Livezey noted that the study is unique in that TxDOT partnered with NTRA for the study.
The pavement study officially began Wednesday and is expected to continue throughout the month. A technician is currently driving across the airport with a truck equipped with sensors and a mechanic device that strikes the pavement at various points. The truck collects information on the vibrations and uses this information to determine the rigidity and strength of the pavement.
Livezey said the study will cover both of the runways, and most taxiways and aprons. The work will need to be conducted during both day and night as to not interrupt the operations of the airport. While some of the taxiways will and apron space will be surveyed during the day, the main runway will need to be done at night.
Livezey said US Aviation, one of the airports largest users, has been notified and plans to cease night operations during the days that the runway study is conducted. The airport’s secondary runway will be able to be studied during the day and will simply be closed during that time.
Once the data is collected, it will be taken back to be studied and analyzed. The final results are expected to be back some time in late March.