Concrete work on the new cargo apron at the Talladega Municipal Airport is complete, and the airport was already beginning to benefit, Talladega Municipal Airport Board Chairman Ray Miller announced Monday. Lighting and other work around the new apron is still not complete, but could be as soon as next week.

The runway at the airport has been long enough to accommodate large planes for some time, but while it has been possible for cargo planes to take off and land, there has not been a place to park them until now.

The apron consists of concrete mixed to exact specifications and poured nearly one foot thick. Miller said the contractors began pouring at 4 a.m. and completed the job about 10 a.m. the next morning.

“They finished it last week,” Miller reported. “Waites (Concrete, one of the contractors on the job) actually exceeded the specifications. This will get us some more stop-over, especially during race week,” as well as paving the way for more cargo flights.

“We had one of the teams come in last week with two or three loads of 25 or 30 people each,” he continued. “And they bought fuel while they were there.” Selling fuel is one of the board’s major sources of income, aside from property rentals.

“And once the apron is complete, we will be talking to UPS and Federal Express.”

Making the airport a shipping and cargo hub has been one of the board’s ambitions for many years. The installation of an Instrument Landing System was the first step, and the next will likely be expansion of the terminal.

Also Monday, the board:

O Authorized Miller and engineer Ken Gilbert to travel to Jackson, Miss., to see about getting returned funds from the Federal Aviation Administration.

O Announced that a new testing facility would be expanding its operation in the old Nordson building, which is adjacent to the airport but no longer owned by it.

O Authorized Miller to try and get unallocated state funds as well.

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