Cotulla gets an Eagle Ford airport expansion

The city of Cotulla broke ground Wednesday on its airport expansion – a project driven by drilling in the Eagle Ford Shale oil field.

The Cotulla-LaSalle County Airport is adding a 6,005-foot runway with a parallel taxiway and more parking. The project should be finished by May.

There are also plans for a new privately-funded jet hangar and a new airport terminal building. It already has a 5,005-foot runway.

La Salle County and its county seat, Cotulla, have seen some of the most intense development in the Eagle Ford region. In addition to oil and gas wells, and new hotels and restaurants, the Gardendale railroad has seen enormous expansion and Anadarko Petroleum Corp. built a $100 million plant to process natural gas from its Eagle Ford wells.

But the area also has long been considered a prime hunting ground, and much of its fall- and wintertime airport traffic has come from hunters. It’s part of the so-called “Golden Triangle” of South Texas, where trophy deer are found in abundance.

“The hunting draw once comprised a majority of seasonal traffic to the airport; but the oil and gas industry has definitely upped the jet traffic to the airport,” airport manager E.T. Page said in a press release. “We’re a great hub for these businesses because we’re centrally located in the heart of all of the operations.”