Work to expand Route H near Columbia Regional Airport began this week. The work, which will cause road closures, is broken down into four phases.
Residents from the Englewood area held several meetings in September with officials from the airport, engineers working on the project and fire officials to discuss concerns about the scheduled work, including response times.
Fire Chief James Bullard of the Southern Boone County Fire Protection District, said the work will have an impact on response times.
“Some of the delays are just a few minutes and some of them are up to 10 minutes,” said Bullard.
He said assistance from the airport’s Public Safety Department could help keep response times down.
During the fourth phase of the project, the existing Route H east of Airport Road will be closed. This is the phase in which the city and the fire district focused on utilizing the airport’s help.
“There will be a delayed response for us but, because they’re already on the runway and tarmac, they can just hop out the back gate and be there in minutes,” Bullard said.
The airport has two firetrucks and a police vehicle available to help.
“It’s a 24-hour operation. They’re both police and fire, airport operations and EMS,” said airport manager Mike Parks.
The Southern Boone County Fire Protection District requested help from the airport’s Public Safety Department after reviewing response times for the project.
Both Parks and Bullard said they do not expect a large number of calls to the area because it is rural.