Bollards Boost Airport Security

August 1, 2008
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GRAND RAPIDS — Security bollards will be installed in front of Gerald R. Ford International Airport’s terminal building as part of the ongoing terminal area and parking improvement program.

The Kent County Aeronautics Board approved a bollard layout plan Wednesday. Bollards are reinforced concrete blast walls that isolate the terminal building from vehicles. Ford International’s bollard layout plan was endorsed by the Transportation Security Administration, and TSA officials worked with airport staff to develop the plan, said Thomas Ecklund, the airport’s facilities management director.

According to plans, 127 bollards will be installed in front of the terminal building, evenly spaced between the columns of the terminal’s overhead canopy. The bollards will be three feet high and spaced six feet apart. Ecklund said the cement piers will keep potential bomb-laden vehicles 30 feet from the terminal building’s support beams. The majority of bollards at the front of the building are designed to stop a vehicle of 15,000 pounds going 35 miles an hour, Ecklund said. On the east and west ends of the building, the bollards are designed to stop a vehicle 15,000 pounds going 50 miles an hour. Ecklund said that’s because on the east and west ends, there’s more straightaway for vehicles to pick up speed.

The estimated cost of the bollards is $900,000. Since security bollards are eligible for federal Airport Improvement Program funds, staff will submit a request for those funds. Ecklund said AIP funds will cover 95 percent of cost and that the airport’s share will be 2.5 percent, or $22,500.

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