PITTSTON TWP. — Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport officials have identified six key projects to consider in the coming years, including razing the former terminal building and expanding the airport's ability to handle international flights.
The board voted unanimously Tuesday to solicit requests for qualifications from engineering and design firms that could manage the projects, which combined could cost close to $8 million. In addition to the razing of the former, and now vacant, terminal building, the projects include:
• Expanding the fuel tank storage capacity at the airport from its current 42,000 gallons.
• Repairing the existing parking garage.
• Creating an access road on the airport's east side that would connect to a soon-to-be built extension of Navy Way.
• Rehabilitating Terminal Drive and other airport thoroughfares.
• Modifying the terminal to add capacity to the customs area to accommodate the potential for international flights.
Airport engineer Stephen Mykulyn said the projects are a combination of those that have been on short-term planning lists and others, including the parking garage repairs, that are newer.
The requests for qualifications start the ball rolling to secure professionals to prepare bids, Mykulyn said. Their designs will include “estimates of probable cost,” he added, giving the airport board and officials an idea if it's something with which they want to proceed.
Some projects are likely to total in the hundreds of thousands of dollars or less, but at least two will likely have price tags in the millions. Barry Centini, the airport's director, said the terminal razing could run $2 million or more. The creation of a new roadway on the eastern side of the airport's grounds could be more than $4 million.
That roadway would help to open up more than 100 acres for commercial use. It would come on the heels of a $41.9 million state project to reconstruct the Exit 178 interchange off of Interstate 81 and construct a new road through airport property to give tenants of the Grimes Industrial Park better access to the interstate and alleviate congestion of residential streets in Dupont.
The idea of expanding the airport's ability to handle international flights is more to accommodate charter flights, not commercial airliners, Centini said, noting there have been more requests of such flights at airports the size of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.