Western Nebraska Regional Airport, east of Scottsbluff, will make some much-needed improvements over the next few months, including cleaning up after recent storms.

The Scotts Bluff County Airport Authority met Wednesday morning and adopted a plan to begin construction on the security room expansion project. Don Overman, airport board chairman, said the project would add space for the TSA area, more restrooms and nearly 200 seats near the gates.

After waiting nearly four months for the Federal Aviation Administration to approve project funding, airport director Darwin Skelton said he called Sen. Mike Johanns’ office to ask why it was taking so long to release the funds. The next day the grant was awarded to the airport.

Paul Reed Construction anticipates starting work on Sept. 1.

The project is expected to cost $1.6 million dollars, with 90 percent of the project funded by the FAA grant. The project will also include new boarding ramps that are slated for delivery in December that will service the Great Lakes flights and airplanes up to a 777, according to Overman.

“By doing the ramps, I think it’s just going to be a lot better for people to be able to get on and off these flights, not having to fight stairs,” Skelton said.

Other improvement projects at the airport are related to its recovery from a severe hailstorm that hit the area in 2012, causing $250,000 in structural damage. Skelton said roofing improvements are still ongoing, but hopes they will be finished by winter.

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