The Covington Municipal Airport will close for runway construction beginning on Sept. 21 at 7 a.m.
After the past few days of meetings between construction, state and local officials, a date was finally settled upon, said Rusty Anglin, of Atlanta East Aviation, on Friday.
The runway will be chewed up and re-paved because of holes on the runway and to remove the dip between the old and new portion of runway; the taxiway also will be rehabbed; the apron, where the plane tie downs and hangars are located, will be repaved; and the fuel farms will be moved. The cost is around $3 million, but the city will only pay around $200,000 with the state and federal departments of transportation covering the rest.
The runway portion is contracted to take up to 60 days from the date of closing, meaning the airport could be closed until late-November. The rehabilitation of the taxiway, apron and the moving of the fuel farms will take an additional 30 days, but once the runway is finished planes will be allowed to take off and land.
Construction was supposed to start in late July or early August, but the appropriate testing and coordination efforts pushed the start date back to September. Pittman Construction Company, which was awarded the $3 million bid earlier this year, will try to finish the project before the designated timeframe, because November is historically a bad month for construction due to the rain and low temperatures, which negatively affect the pouring of concrete and asphalt, said Bill Walker of PBS&J, the project manager.
City Manager Steve Horton said previously that Pittman has to finish the runway within 60 days or it will face monetary penalties.Officials are spreading the word about the airport closing to as many people as possible to avoid any unaware aircraft from attempting to land during the construction. Anglin was calling all of the plane owners at the airport on Friday to give them time to move their planes. The owners have been prepared for the closing of the airport for months, and Anglin said previously that 90 percent of the planes have plans to move to other airports in cities like Monroe and Madison.
For more details about the closing call Anglin at (770) 787-0098 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mayor Kim Carter said at a previous airport meeting that she knows the temporary closing will be difficult to work around, but she reiterated that the airport is an important part to the city’s economic development plans.
"I know this can be painful, particularly for the FBO (fixed-base operator), but rest-assured good things will happen. We’re going to have a first-class airport," Carter said. "We’re going to continue to invest and move forward."
In other airport news, the airport beacon will be replaced, moved and heightened to make it more visible. Currently, the beacon is only visible for a few miles in all directions, but normally beacons should be visible for up to 15 miles in all directions.