Airport, AirVenture Grounds Benefit from Fence/Road Project
EAA works with airport officials to add convenience, safety
The 7-foot sound-deflecting berm between the west edge of Camp Scholler and Poberezny Road will improve the visitor experience for AirVenture campers.
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November 15, 2012 - AirVenture 2013 attendees will see the benefits of this fall's $5.2 million project under way at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, which will improve access, safety and convenience in several areas on the airport and the AirVenture grounds.
Airport Director Peter Moll said the upgrades, which include a federally mandated 10-foot perimeter fence and service road, are being 90-percent funded by the FAA's Airport Improvement Program, with the state of Wisconsin and Winnebago County each funding 5 percent.
Some of the existing fencing, especially on the south and west sides of the airport, is in disrepair and well short of TSA and FAA standards. The new fence will also prevent wildlife from entering the airport grounds and decrease the potential for runway incursions.
"We've even had some instances where hunters have inadvertently strayed onto airport property," Moll added.
EAA worked with airport officials to modify initial plans that would have affected the flow of foot and vehicle traffic during AirVenture, and potentially cut off a portion of the Vintage aircraft parking area. EAA also noted potential conflicts that could have closed off access further south in the aircraft parking areas, recommending changes that reduce vehicle/pedestrian conflicts. In addition, the modifications make operations at the ultralight AirVenture runway safer by routing foot traffic away from the southeast approach to the airstrip.
What visitors will see in 2013 from the project, which began in September, on the southeast, south, and southwest sides of the airport is a new fence on the east side of Runway 18/36, County Trunk N, Knapp Street Road, and the southernmost transient aircraft parking area ("North Fond du Lac") and to what becomes Wittman Drive. Proceeding north to the ultralight runway, the fenceline then jags back west to Knapp and continues north to Theater in the Woods.
The new perimeter fence and road create other means of access to the convention grounds for attendees as well as exhibitors, said Steve Taylor, EAA facilities manager. The perimeter road will make it easier for attendees to head to the south end during the convention and allow greater access to the Vintage area by fuel trucks, trams, and pedestrians.
"It really enhances service amenities for the members," he said. "Working with the airport, we minimized the impact a project like this might have had on our event."
Also included will be a new loop for shuttles as well as a new pick-up point for the AirVenture Seaplane Base shuttle and a new walkway along Knapp Street Road extending south from Theater in the Woods. Additional trees are being planted to replace those that are felled for the airport project. A small number of vintage aircraft parking spots immediately south of Theater in the Woods will also be eliminated because of the federally mandated project.
North 40 campers will see a small change in their area, too, as a new section of perimeter road will be built off the west end of Runway 9. The perimeter road will now extend west to the fence line in that area.
There's also an unexpected bonus from the project for those who camp on the west side of Camp Scholler. Instead of being trucked off-site, soil taken from the airport project will be used to build a seven-foot, sound-deflecting berm between the west edge of Camp Scholler and Poberezny Road. Measuring 1,200-foot long, the berm will help reduce traffic noise from U.S. 41.
Depending on the severity of the winter weather, Moll expects the project to be completed well in advance of AirVenture 2013. "Work will proceed until the ground freezes, then we'll pick it back up in the spring," he said.