Grant awarded for county airport improvements


The latest improvement project for the Wood County Collins Field Airport has been given a boost by the North East Texas Regional Mobility Authority.

The RMA recently announced it is awarding three grants to member counties from funds derived from the revenues of the Toll 49 Tyler loop.

One of the grants, for $125,000, is coming to Wood County to be used as matching funds for a $1.5 million grant from the Texas Dept. of Transportation’s aviation division.

The 90 percent grant will assist the airport with major drainage improvements as well as expanding the parking area for planes.

As John Wisdom, airport board member, explained, this project will complete the airport’s most recent 10-year plan.

The grant will also allow the airport to continue with its next 10-year plan, which is a $100,000 undertaking.

Wisdom said the primary focus in the next planning round will be to extend the runway from its present 4,000 feet to 5,000.

The significance of the extra length is the ability to allow most small business jets to land in Wood County instead of going to Tyler or Sulphur Springs.

The standards that once allowed jets to access 4,000-foot runways were upgraded to 5,000 feet.

“The airport is a real economic engine for the county, Wisdom said.

Planning for the extension will include examination of the air space around the airport, the geography and environmental concerns.

Engineering will get underway for the current project this year with construction to begin in 2021 and be completed in 2022, Wisdom said.