A Clay County construction company will begin work on runway project at Columbus Air Force Base in 2013.
Babcock Construction Co. in Pheba was been awarded a $31.1-million contract to demolish and resurface the center runway. The project is tentatively scheduled to begin in March and will completed in September.
The runway was built in 1958. The resurfacing will be the first major renovation for the runway.
While the construction is under way, planes from the CAFB will be utilizing the runway at the Golden Triangle Regional Airport. In June 2011, the runway underwent its own facelift with a 1,500-foot expansion, creating a an 8,000-foot surface. The project cost approximately $10.5 million. GTRA Executive Director Mike Hainsey said several planes from CAFB use the facility on a daily basis.
“On the average about 35 CAFB planes use GTR daily,” Hainsey said. “Not only do they not cause delays, but we have been able to improve our facilities and the safety at GTR because of their operations. Our air traffic control tower was built in 2004 to increase safety with the jets flying in here. Last year, we received a $2.5 million grant from the Mississippi Development Authority to add an Instrument Landing System to support the CAFB traffic. We have spent a lot of time and effort improving our airport for all our users, including CAFB.”
The project is also good news for the local economy. A recent economic impact report showed CAFB in 2011 impacted the area approximately $262 million, a $5 million increase from 2010. Annual expenditures contributed $83.2 million to the local economy through contracts, construction and other line item purchases. The three largest construction projects in 2011 were a $1.7 million design project supporting the upcoming MILICON project to rebuild the base’s center runway, a $1.1 million energy efficiency project and a $875,000 project to upgrade an electrical system.
Jeff Clark was previously a reporter for The Dispatch.
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