Nov. 6, 2013

More than a decade in the making, state and local officials broke ground in late October on a $15.34 million runway safety improvement project at the non-towered Marshfield Airport – George Harlow Field (GHG) in Marshfield, MA.

“Basically, they’ll have a new airport from the ramp out and pilots will have more options,” said Dean Saucier, NBAA’s Northeast regional representative.

Scheduled for completion in August 2014, the project will replace the 3,000-by-75-foot Runway 6/24 with 3,900-by-100 feet of new pavement that includes 300-foot paved runway safety areas at both ends, said Airport Manager Dave Dinneen.

“Using declared distances, we’ll have 3,600 feet for takeoff and 3,300 feet for landing,” he said.

The airport is located on the Massachusetts coast, about 20 miles south of Boston. Pilots will appreciate the new instrument minimums and guidance provided by LPV approaches, as well as four-light PAPI systems that the FAA will install at both ends once the pavement is in place,” Dinneen said.

With a river on both ends of the runway, it was a challenge to design the project with minimal environmental impact, said Ann Pollard, vice president of Shoreline Aviation, a full-service FBO that provides Jet-A, 100LL fuels; aircraft maintenance, brokerage and acquisitions; oxygen service and flight training. It also operates a charter fleet of Cessna Citations and manages the airport.

Work for the project began in 2002, but environmental studies contributed to the project’s extended timeline. For years, Marshfield officials have wanted to restore Bass Creek, which is east of the threshold, and the project includes it in its wetland habitat work.

Land acquisitions also extended the timeline, said Pollard. To complete the improvements, the town acquired the adjacent farm and its access easement, and then hired Amish craftsmen from Pennsylvania to disassemble its historically significant barn.

The project, and the increase in safety it will provide, would not have been possible without the willingness of all involved to “think outside the box,” said Pollard. “Our FAA and state DOT Aeronautics team was behind the project 100 percent, and the residents of Marshfield overwhelmingly supported the project through a town meeting vote for the local share [of the project’s funding].”

The project will close Harlow Field for approximately three months, Pollard said. Shoreline’s flight training and charter operations, the owners of the 55 based aircraft are making temporary relocation plans.

 “Everyone knows that good things come with a price,” she added.