03/29/04 — FAA gives blessing to Mt. Olive runway extension

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FAA gives blessing to Mt. Olive runway extension

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on March 29, 2004 1:57 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- The federal government has given its blessing to a plan to extend the runway at the town's airport.

Mount Olive Mayor Ruff Huggins said the state Division of Aviation received a letter from the Federal Aviation Administration's Atlanta office saying the feasibility study is complete, and there are no objections to proceeding with the project.

The letter said extending the south end of the runway by 150 feet and the north end by 1,150 feet would not have an adverse effect on existing procedures. It said the Air Force has no objection to the extensions.

A copy of the letter arrived by fax at Town Hall from a member of the town Airport Committee.

"We were delaying going forward until we got this," said the mayor. He said the runway can go as close as is permissible to Kelly Springs Road. The plan includes moving the road, but he said the town has waited for the blessings of the FAA on the project to proceed in that direction.

"We need more money to start thinking about moving the road," Huggins said. "We don't know how much it will cost."

The Airport Committee is having the town's engineer, Marty Wynn of Talbert & Bright, receive bids on beginning a 150-foot extension on the south end and then adding a turn-around at the end of that extension.

The north end would come next, if there's enough money. The town will also take bids on rehabilitating the current runway's lighting system and repairing the airport beacon.

The project will be done in three phases. Phase II will bring the runway's north end closer to the road. Phase III would include moving the road and extending it farther. Eventually, it will be extended from 3,750 feet to 5,000 feet. This will allow larger, corporate jets to land.

The town has received $450,000 in federal grants.