PALM SPRINGS, Calif. -

The Palm Springs International Airport continues to improve its safety and efficiency through another construction project.  The airport introduced a new control tower this month, and now crews are working to repave areas around the runways and terminals.  "Unlike streets, we don't like pavements to get old because they start to crumble," said airport executive director Tom Nolan.  "Crumbling pieces are not good for aircraft engines." 

The project is no easy undertaking.  It requires constant testing of the material to make sure it meets Federal Aviation Administration standards, especially in the desert heat.  All this while making sure everything runs smoothly with incoming and outgoing flights.  "The piece is $12 million but broken up into 13 phases," said Nolan.  "So, we don't disrupt operations at all." 

The FAA paid for 90% of the project.  The airport covered the rest, a small price to pay to continue making the airport safer and more efficient.  In the process, becoming a favorite stop for travelers.  "I think it's great," said Frank Wallace, who was visiting from Houston.  "I mean, this is easy to get in and get out.  It's a lot nicer than what we've got in Houston." 

The improvement doesn't only appeal to visitors, it is also helping the economy at home, providing jobs for local construction workers.  "They live and breathe and eat here in the valley," said Nolan.  "So, that $11 million in construction has a direct and indirect economic benefit and it spreads throughout the valley." 

Another benefit is continuing to make the airport more attractive to the a growing number of passengers to the valley.  "I think that's a great thing for the community and it just brings additional business to this area," said Wallace. 

The project is expected to be finished in the next two months.