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A construction official explains the installation of the Engineered Material Arresting System at Trenton-Mercer Airport to, from left, Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes, and Freeholders Pasquale Colavita and Ann Cannon. 

A construction official explains the installation of the Engineered Material Arresting System at Trenton-Mercer Airport to, from left, Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes, and Freeholders Pasquale Colavita and Ann Cannon.

TRENTON, N.J. - Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes today announced the completion of the installation of Engineered Material Arresting System (EMAS) beds at the ends of Runway 16-34 at Trenton-Mercer Airport. The installation was made possible with a $13.4 million grant from the Federal Aviation Administration, and a $353,000 grant from the New Jersey Department of Transportation.

The beds are made of lightweight, crushable concrete blocks constructed at the ends of the runways that are designed to entrap an aircraft that has overrun the runway with little or no damage to the aircraft, and most importantly, no major injuries to passengers, crew, or bystanders. There are currently 55 such systems installed at 37 airports worldwide. To date, there have been eight engagements of aircraft by EMAS in the U.S, with no injuries and little to no damage in each case.

“This project was a success on a number of levels,” said Hughes. “First and foremost, the installation of EMAS will make this facility safer. Second, it employed many dozens of individuals in every trade from engineers to laborers, a good thing in these tough economic times. Finally, it brings us into compliance with the latest FAA regulations.”

Hughes added, “This new technology will also make us even more competitive as we seek to attract additional tenants looking to locate to a premier aviation facility.” Joining Hughes to place the final blocks were Freeholders Ann Cannon, Tony Carabelli and Pasquale Colavita; and Ewing Mayor Bert Steinmann.

While the airport has completed the design phase for EMAS on Runways 6 and 24, they anticipate construction to begin in late 2012 or more likely in the spring of 2013.  Completion of the EMAS installation on both runways will bring the airport into full compliance with new Federal Aviation Administration regulations on Runway Safety Areas (RSA). The EMAS blocks are designed and fabricated by Zodiac-ESCO at a plant in Logan Township, New Jersey.

Laborers install blocks of material as part of the Engineered Material Arresting System at Trenton-Mercer Airport. 

Laborers install blocks of material as part of the Engineered Material Arresting System at Trenton-Mercer Airport.