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SRQ gets $4.75M

MANATEE — Pilots landing and taking off at Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport soon will get a smoother ride.

SRQ has won a $4.75 million federal grant to repave Runway 4/22, its 5,009-foot-long secondary runway, airport officials announced Thursday.

The money is part of the $1.1 billion the Federal Aviation Administration received from the federal economic stimulus package, said Fredrick “Rick” Piccolo, SRQ’s president and chief executive.

“We’re real pleased we’ve been able to be among the first to secure a stimulus grant,” he said.

SRQ already has advertised the project and could award a contract as early as next week. The project likely will take less than six months to complete, Piccolo said.

The runway, which runs from southwest to northeast, primarily is used by smaller jets and private planes. It’s also occasionally used by airliners when there’s a heavy crosswind on Runway 14/32, the main 9,500-foot-long runway.

The runway numbers refer to their compass headings in degrees.

Piccolo said the shorter runway has not been repaved since at least 1995, when he joined SRQ.

“It’s the highest priority piece of pavement for us,” he said. “We’ve done every other piece of pavement except maybe one taxiway.”

Piccolo said the airport also is seeking additional stimulus money for other projects, including:

n $3.3 million to renovate the terminal building

n $3 million to complete funding for a new air-traffic control tower

n $2.1 million to install an explosives-detection system

n $2 million to refurbish airport roads.