August 22, 2009 10:48:00 PM
Neal Wagner -
Work on a 6,000-square-foot terminal expansion at Golden Triangle Regional Airport has been progressing slightly slower than expected, airport Executive Director Mike Hainsey said during a Friday GTRA board of directors meeting.
"There''s a big area downstairs that''s torn up and fenced off right now," Hainsey told the board. "Right now, they are running a new sewer line over to where the new terminal bathrooms will be."
Although construction crews have been working on the terminal expansion since July 13, they hit a "snag" while working to install the new sewer line, Hainsey explained.
While removing sections of the airport''s floor, workers discovered they would have to cut through steel-reinforced concrete. Because cutting through such material could compromise the building''s structural integrity, crews were forced to stop working until architects examined the work site.
"JBHM (Architects) came in and showed us where we could cut without affecting the airport''s structural integrity," Hainsey added. "So it''s been taking us about two weeks longer than we thought it would as a result."
Because workers have been working during the night, airport patrons likely will not be affected by the project until crews begin "tying everything together" in several months, Hainsey said.
Once complete, the expansion will increase the terminal''s seating capacity from 58 to 150, and will include several visual enhancements across the airport facility. The expansion likely will be completed sometime during spring 2010, Hainsey previously said.
In other business, Hainsey announced July''s passenger loads were up 2 percent compared with July 2008.
"Last month, we put more people on planes than any other month since May 2003," Hainsey said with a laugh. "July 2008 was up 69 percent compared to July 2007, and we were up 2 percent over that last month.
"We saw 3,344 passengers last month, and we did it with two fewer flights per week," Hainsey added, noting the airport recently canceled its seldom-used Tuesday and Saturday afternoon flights. "Delta is happy with the numbers at GTRA. We are definitely holding our own."