September 26, 2013 9:30:01 AM
By the end of the year the Golden Triangle Regional Airport will have repaved its taxiway and widened the exits and entrances to its runway.
The renovation project will cost $3.43 million, according to Mike Hainsey, the airport's executive director. The bulk of the cost is being provided by a Federal Aviation Administration grant worth $3.1 million through the Airport Improvement Program. The Mississippi Department of Transportation will provide matching grants totaling more than $210,000 and the airport itself will fund the rest of what is expected to be a 60-day renovation process.
"The airport has been a leading factor in the recruitment of industry and jobs to the Golden Triangle," Mike Tagert, MDOT Northern District commissioner, said, adding that the state grant is aimed at ensuring future success.
On Wednesday, Hainsey said there is a safety component behind the work, as well. The larger aircraft the airport sees -- planes that bring Division I college athletic teams to the area; planes that take and bring home Mississippi State teams; and Boeing 757s -- can always use wider spaces to maneuver, he said.
Once the work is complete the airport can consider accommodating larger aircraft, Hainsey added.
"It's part of our longterm plan to grow this airport," Hainsey said.
Construction, which includes placing a protective sealant on part of the runway and taxiway, is slated to begin in mid-October and end by mid-December.
The public won't notice the infrastructure work being done, Hainsey said, because it will take place at night.
APAC of Columbus was awarded the contract.
1. Coach Marsh will be remembered COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY