VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - The Valdosta-Lowndes Regional Airport is in the middle of building a passenger sky bridge that will eliminate travelers having to walk on the runway to board and exit planes.
Whether it is extremely hot, cold or even if there is rain or snow, passengers walk out onto the hazardous runways every day to get to their final destinations. But the Valdosta-Lowndes Regional Airport has taken new measures with its overall safety enhancement program to ensure the safety of its travelers.
"We'll have passengers, instead of having to come outside and go across the concrete to get to and from the airplane in the weather or night time, with all of this other equipment running around out here, they'll be able to do it all from inside the building," said Airport Manager Jim Gallaway.
It's called a passenger boarding bridge and is like a tunnel.
"If you travel to other airports many of them have this and so we're always looking for a way to improve the airport here," explained Gallaway.
Construction on the new bridge started just after the new year and should be complete by the end of July.
"In the big scheme of things, it's fairly simple," said Gallaway. "We're building a very simple building that will mate up to the existing building and also to the bridge itself and then our passengers will get into that smaller building and into the bridge."
Currently, passengers have to wait on the runways to retrieve their luggage.
This action alone can take a decent amount of time, which can increase the chances of an accident.
"People are curious, they tend to wander around and there are some other things out here that may cause them harm or the equipment harm if they were to just wander off while waiting for their carry on bag or something," explained Gallaway.
The estimated cost for the bridge is $1.5 million.
"This helps us channel the people and keep them where we want them to be, once again to enhance the safety primarily for those on the ground and traveling," concluded Gallaway.
Ninety percent of the cost of the bridge is funded by federal dollars, 5 percent is covered by the state and the other 5 percent by passenger facility charges.