Airport study, plan receives national ACEC honor

Recognition of Idaho’s Airport System Plan, completed in 2010, reached new heights recently when it earned a national award from the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC).

The study and subsequent plan that will guide future investments in Idaho’s airport system received ACEC’s 2011 Engineering Excellence Award (EEA) in national competition – the “Academy Awards” of the engineering industry. The National Recognition Award is a "prestigious distinction for projects that demonstrate exceptional achievement in engineering."

ITD will be formally recognized during a program and dinner April 1 in Washington, D.C.

The airport system study was funded by a Federal Aviation Administration grant and was completed by consultant Wilbur Smith Associates. Aeronautics project manager Bill Statham began working with consultants in 2008 to develop the study, which also included T-O Engineers, HDR and ES Engineering.

The goal of the study was to “provide a blueprint to ensure that Idaho’s future system of airports meets the state’s needs as viewed at a macro or top-down perspective,” according to the report’s executive summary. “This approach allows each airport’s role in the system, its demand for aviation, and infrastructure to be evaluated in this larger context.”

According to the comprehensive study, 75 Idaho airports are located within a 30-minute drive of 89 percent of the state’s population. It also indicated Idaho’s airport system is a significant contributor to the state’s economy, accounting for approximately 23,000 jobs, with an annual payroll of about $718.5 million. Airports have an estimated annual economic impact of $2.9 billion on the state’s economy.

Idaho’s ACEC chapter selected the airport system plan for one of its annual awards in 2010. The honor will be formally presented at the 2010 Engineering Excellence Awards luncheon next month in Boise.

Published 3-4-2011