Safety Improvements for Marshfield Airport (GHG)
Marshfield Airport (GHG) is poised for improvements which will bring its runway up to current FAA safety and design standards, including runway and taxiway repaving – last completed in 1983 and 1972 respectively - as well as lighting updates and other safety upgrades.
Working closely with town officials, the Airport Commission and airport management have developed plans for an airport safety improvement project that may also pave the way for ecological improvements to the Bass Creek wetlands area -- improvements which the Marshfield DPW has been seeking to fund for the past several years.
Said David Dinneen, Airport Manager, “We are so pleased to have developed a plan that will address the FAA safety standards we need to meet at the airport -- in a way that integrates with the needs of the town. Everyone has worked really hard on this. We hope we can make it happen.”
Environmental Improvements for Bass Creek
The airport is proposing to help fund the Bass Creek improvement work by including it as part of the mitigation for the required airport safety improvements. Following rigorous analysis and recommendations of environmental consulting firm, Vine Associates, proposed improvements to Bass Creek would result in:
- Removal of invasive Phragmites and other nuisance vegetation along with sediment buildup to re-establish the upper and mid-reaches of Bass Creek and provide immediate relief and restoration to the ecosystem.
- Improved water flow to reduce water stagnation and potential mosquito breeding grounds; and create a more suitable habitat for native non-invasive plant species, as well as wildlife and fisheries.
- Alleviation of some drainage issues for the Fieldston area of Marshfield.
If the permitting agencies approve Bass Creek dredging as part of the mitigation for airport safety improvements, FAA and MassDOT Aeronautics Division will contribute funding towards the Bass Creek dredging project along with millions of dollars towards safety upgrades.
A green light will in fact open the door to approximately $10,000,000 in grant funds from FAA and MassDOT Aeronautics Division for airport safety improvements and Bass Creek improvements, creating approximately 140 construction related jobs and 6.4 million in payrolls.
While bidding is governed by federal and state bid laws, many Marshfield contractors have worked on airport projects over the years and it is expected – and encouraged – that local contractors will bid on upcoming projects, a potential boon for the economy of Marshfield as well as surrounding areas.
Safety Improved; Functionality Unchanged
In order to meet current FAA safety and design standards that are mandatory in securing the airport’s eligibility for FAA and MassDOT/Aeronautics reimbursement, additional proposed safety improvements include the following:
- Widening the taxiways from 30’ to 35’
- Widening the runway from 75’ to 100’
- PAPI (Precision Approach Path Indicator) lighting systems
- Clearing of trees in approach zones
While updates also call for minor expansion of paved areas (300’ of additional runway in addition to 300’ at each end of the runway to provide for FAA safety/overrun areas), overall functionality and capacity of the airport will not change.
Opening the airport to larger aircraft would in fact call for a 4,200-5,000-foot runway, far longer than the existing or proposed runway and an impossible option due to geographical and land use constraints. The airport’s runway is bordered by rivers on both ends and is almost entirely surrounded by wetlands and residential development.
Marshfield airport will remain a small general aviation facility usable by the same size and class of aircraft that are currently using the airport, but will be updated to current FAA safety and design standards for the benefit of the flying public and community.