The first phase of a taxiway that will connect the Houston Spaceport to Ellington Airport is set to be built after Houston City Council approved Phase 1 of construction at its March 6 meeting.

What you need to know

Taxiway L, also referred to as Taxiway Lima, will be a roughly 2-mile stretch of taxiway built out at Ellington Airport, according to maps provided by the Houston Airport System.

The first phase of the project was approved March 6 unanimously and without comment from Houston City Council.

According to city documents, the taxiway project will be built out in three phases, which in their totality will include:
  • Design and construction of the taxiway
  • Associated connectors on the south side
  • Design and construction of runway shoulders with new edge lights
  • Relocation of wind cones
  • Addition of all required markings, signage and lighting
  • Drainage improvements
The first phase covers the design and construction of the taxiway itself, along with one of the connectors to a runway, according to agenda documents.

The funds for Phase 1 of the project, totaling $16 million, will come out of the Houston Airport System’s enterprise fund, officials said in an email. A portion of the funds is reimbursable through grants from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Put in perspective

The taxiway will act as a general upgrade to the airport, said Jim Szczesniak, director of aviation for the Houston Airport System, which oversees the spaceport. However, because of where it’s located, it will “open up possibilities for the spaceport,” including 400 acres of land for future development.

Houston Spaceport thus far has added three businesses to its park—Collins Aerospace, Intuitive Machines and Axiom Space—and is looking to continue expanding that count, Szczesniak said. The new taxiway is expected to help them as they grow their locations at the spaceport.

Axiom Space, for example, is planning to assemble the world’s first commercial space station at its spaceport location. However, some of those pieces will be built internationally. The new taxiway will allow for those types of international deliveries to go by much smoother, as well as for things being sent out to be flown out at Ellington, Szczesniak said.

Stay tuned

Officials with the Houston Airport System said in a series of emails the project is expected to break ground in August or September, and is expected to be built out around 2026.

The contract time calls for 640 days, according to agenda documents.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to clarify the project is a taxiway.