Molzen Corbin and Lea County Complete a Triple Play with Recent Improvements at the Lea County Regional Airport

For the past decade, Molzen Corbin has proudly served as the on-call engineer for all three of Lea County’s airports: the Lea County Regional Airport in Hobbs and the two general aviation airports in Jal and Lovington. The Lea County Regional Airport is the largest of the three airports covering more than 898 acres and providing three runways. As demand has increased and commercial service has expanded to include direct flights to Houston and Denver, Lea County and Molzen Corbin have worked feverishly to support the rapid growth of the Lea County Regional Airport. This year saw the culmination of three major projects: a rare triple play!

First, the runway safety area (RSA) for Runway 3-21 needed to be expanded to 1,000 feet to meet the Federal Aviation Administration requirement allowing for larger aircraft. This presented a unique challenge as a drainage channel sat just inside the required RSA. To create the 1,000-foot, flat safety buffer, Molzen Corbin designed a 900-foot drainage culvert that was then buried under the RSA. In addition, a drainage pond was designed and constructed; this “extra” dirt was used as the infill to bury the drainage culvert. This RSA upgrade allows larger planes to use Runway 3-21, increasing maximum plane capacity from 50 to 75 passengers for regional daily flights.

Next up in our lineup of projects was an expansion to the passenger terminal area. This project included constructing two new terminal lobbies/departure gates, a new baggage claim area, and a new passenger screening area. Molzen Corbin oversaw the mechanical and electrical components of this project and partnered with SPMC Architects whom led the design and construction. This expansion triples the airport’s capacity to hold and process passengers. The original terminal will now be the interstate boutique airline travel terminal requiring no security clearance, while the two new terminals will serve regional daily flights.

Finally, supporting the expansion of the first two and completing the trio, the concrete terminal apron outside of the new terminals was constructed. The completed terminal apron provides an enplaning/deplaning area for the new terminals and supports the larger aircraft capacity allowed with the Runway 3-21 RSA expansion. The terminal apron project was funded by a 2019 FAA grant obtained with the assistance of Molzen Corbin.

Molzen Corbin was honored to work with Lea County on these three exciting projects, supporting the continued economic growth and development for the County and the City of Hobbs.