The extension of the Macon County Airport runway is nearly complete, according to Airport engineer Eric Rysdon, who reported to Airport Authority members on May 29 that the project could be finished within a few short weeks.
The finishing touches of the extension will be applied while additional lights are installed to make the runway operational. “Paving is complete,” said Rysdon. “The painters are actually out there marking the temporary stripes.”
Rhodes Brothers Paving took on the paving project under the commission of Buchanan and Sons, Inc., based out of Whittier, who began the project last October at a price of $2.6 million.
As of Tuesday, electricians had also finished the installation of the runway lights.
The electrical work was subcontracted to Georgia-based Precision Approach by Buchanan and Sons at a cost of just over $200,000. According to Buchanan and Sons vice president Christopher Buchanan, the weather deterred the company from finishing the project by a matter of weeks. “The weather was really rough last winter and the rain really held us up in early spring,” he said, adding that their work came with a one year standard warranty.
After final grading and other “odds and ends,” Rysdon said that the runway should be completely finished in less than three weeks.
The runway’s extension will bring the airport into compliance with Federal Aviation Administration regulations for the maximum size of the aircraft which currently utilize the facility, including small private jets. The project will also expand the safety area around the runway by 300 feet.
Since 2008, the Airport Authority has been looking to increase its water supply for the purpose of fire safety. At this month’s meeting, Rysdon gave updated cost estimates for a proposed project that would link a municipal water line from Riverbend’s intersection with NC 28. The Authority is looking at running a 12 inch wide water line 12,000 linear feet from there to the airport.
Rysdon said the proposed project would cost an estimated $1.15 million.
Last month, Chairman Milles Gregory said that the airport’s current well water supply is inadequate. With the additional water supply, Gregory said the airport would stand a much better chance of containing potential fires in the future.
“I will continue to look into funding for this,” said Authority member Tommy Jenkins of the water project, adding that the Authority would have likely have to move forward with the project next year.