Hammond Airport Tower Could Open in December

HAMMOND, LA (AP) — Construction is completed at the new $1.9 million Hammond Northshore Regional Airport Control tower, after a year of building and nearly a decade of planning.

         The Daily Star’s Sarah Wilson reports it could start operations as early as mid-December.

         The tower will provide the airport with increased safety for pilots flying in and out and open the airport to larger planes currently restricted to airports with that safety measure in place. It will be operated by air traffic controllers from the Louisiana Army National Guard's air operations center at the airport, and the National Guard will be providing the equipment and operating staff.

         Guardsmen will scale 95 stairs daily to work from the seven-story tower, which at present has no elevator because of a lack of money in the original budget.

         Two to four guardsmen will work each shift in the 25-square foot box, and there will be two shifts daily. The tower will only monitor daylight traffic in and out of the airport, except in the case of an emergency, where they may be called in full time.

         "Right now we're just waiting on the generators to be installed," said Jason Ball, airport director. "A part on the generator was not the right one… after that it will be ready to go on our end. The guards selected a firm to do the equipment install. They will be here to do that on Dec. 1. After the equipment is installed, they'll turn it all on and we'll be up and running."

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