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Expansion project preparing for takeoff at Eugene Airport

"Our gate areas are just very, very constrained. Every single gate position is full. Some airlines are sharing gate positions and then our hold rooms are just really, really full during a couple peak periods during the day."

Posted: Nov 27, 2021 7:02 PM
Updated: Nov 27, 2021 11:48 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- As the Eugene Airport adds more airlines to its roster, officials say they have plans for an expansion.

"We are looking at doing an expansion," the airport's director, Cathryn Stephens said.

MORE: SOUTHWEST FLIGHTS START AT EUGENE AIRPORT THIS WEEKEND

The expansion would likely include a third concourse with 5-7 new gates, and another seating area for passengers waiting near those new gates, Stephens said.

"Our gate areas are just very, very constrained. Every single gate position is full," Stephens said. "Some airlines are sharing gate positions and then our hold rooms are just really, really full during a couple of peak periods during the day."

It would also likely include space for more ticket counters. Stephens said there is no more space to add more airlines at this time.

“We were already kind of busting at the seams back in 2019 and now we’re right back there again,” Stephens said.

But there are still a lot of steps that must be taken before physical work on the expansion can begin, according to Stephens.

"The big project most likely would happen, starting in a 3-5 year time-frame," Stephens said.

There are also several smaller enabling projects that need to be completed in advance of the expansion, Stephens said.

"We know we need some additional heavy pads. We're hoping to get those sooner rather than waiting for this whole process, some apron rehabilitation, some parking lot expansion," Stephens said.

The expansion is expected to cost millions of dollars.

"A total wag on what this might be, maybe $50 million," Stephens said. “But right now, that’s just a number we can see from other airports that have done expansions.”

Across Oregon, airports are slated to get a total of $211 million from the Biden administration's $1.9 trillion infrastructure bill to support infrastructure development. 

RELATED: HERE'S WHAT IS IN THE INFRASTRUCTURE BILL PASSED BY THE HOUSE

Stephens said funds from that bill will likely help support the project.

“The infrastructure package is great. We know we’ll be getting some additional funds over a five-year period automatically. That will go towards capital improvements. And then we know that there will be a competitive process also for terminal expansions at small airports so we will be definitely applying for some of those funds as well,” Stephens said.

An advanced terminal study has just been started, according to Stephens.

"We’ve also brought in a technical advisory committee from folks with specializations that work within the city of Eugene. And then we are also putting together a community advisory committee that will also give input about what they want for the airport in the future,” Stephens said.

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