12/05/04 — Mt. Olive runway closes in on road

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Mt. Olive runway closes in on road

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on December 5, 2004 2:02 AM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Time is drawing near for a decision about what to do with the north end of the airport's runway extension project, which is just feet away from hitting Kelly Springs Road and will eventually cross it.

Mount Olive's 3,750-foot runway is being lengthened to 5,000 feet. Airport officials say this will enable corporate jets to safely land in southern Wayne County, making it easier for company officials to visit the Mount Olive Industrial Park, which is beside the airport.

The town of Mount Olive became the first local government to grant its blessings to the project in 2003. This summer, the Wayne County Transportation Committee endorsed the runway extension.

So far, the airport committee has not approached the transportation committee for a decision about how to extend the runway the rest of the way north to make it 5,000 feet.

The airport committee has broken down the project into three phases.

Phase I, which is finished, extends the runway 150 feet at the southwestern end at a cost of $152,000.

Phase II, which costs $212,000, is under way. It extends the runway northeast, with the asphalt coming up to Kelly Springs Road. When this is finished, those landing from the north would touch down 200 feet from the road.

Phase III would complete the expansion to the northeast, going across Kelly Springs Road.

The town of Mount Olive has presented the Wayne County Transportation Committee with several options for the road:

*The original master plan called for closing the road and rerouting the traffic around the airport. This option would be the cheapest, and the engineer has drawn up a plan for this option.

*The next option, which would cost more, would be to reroute the road. The airport committee has had its engineer draw up plans for this option. This option would be the least intrusive for the property owners.

*The last option is to build a tunnel for the road to go under the runway? The airport committee members say that's too expensive, and it's risky in the light of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The airport committee is including this option only because it has been discussed.