Airport fence project ongoing

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 12, 2001

Staff Writer

Troy Municipal Airport is being made safer.

With the aid of federal, state and local funds, the city is erecting a fence around the airport that will keep deer and other wild animals off the runways.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Tuesday night, the Troy City Council accepted a Department of Transportation grant that will require the city to pay a $27,000 match.

The airport fencing project was up at the top of a priority list after a Lear jet owned by the Dallas Cowboys football organization hit two deer on a runway Jan. 14.

The run-in resulted in severe injuries to the plane’s two occupants and total destruction of the aircraft.

Another similar incident was reported the following week, but damage to that aircraft was not as severe and no injuries were sustained.

Following those January incidents involving deer on airport runways, city officials began working to eliminate danger to pilots.

"Safety is the reason we’re doing what we’re doing," Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford said of the airport fencing project.

The fencing project involves installation of an 11-foot wildlife fence around the airport’s perimeter.

It will involve almost five miles of fence, which will cost about $500,000.

Plans also include installing the fence so burrowing animals, along with the deer, will be kept off the runways.

"We’re making good progress," the mayor said of the project he deemed as "substantially complete."

Those approaching the airport will notice the fencing and gate, which has an electronic opening, Lunsford said.

He said the gate is "not there to keep people out," but to keep wildlife off the runways.

Lunsford said the gate will be closed "when most people don’t have a reason to be there."

The gate will be open during normal airport business hours, which are 9 a.m until 5 p.m. Those needing access after hours, such as aircraft owners, pilots and airport employees will have it.

Anyone needing access after hours should make arrangements with airport officials.