09/09/10 — $3 million runway paving project closes county airport for several weeks

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$3 million runway paving project closes county airport for several weeks

By Steve Herring
Published in News on September 9, 2010 1:46 PM

The aircraft have left the Goldsboro-Wayne Airport and will stay gone for the next few weeks as a runway repaving and strengthening project gets under way.

A portion of one runway remains available for use by small airplanes.

The project is being funded through a $3 million state grant that includes $250,000 to $350,000 in local funds.

Wayne County Manager Lee Smith told county commissioners that it is possible the project will not require the entire $3 million.

"I am attempting to renegotiate with the state aviation (division of the Department of Transportation) to change some monies around that may be leftover from the paving to assist with getting the lighting that will cost us $525,000."

That project would improve lights along the runway and taxiways, he said.

The runway is expected to be closed for two to two and a half weeks while the paving is being done.

Commissioner Andy Anderson asked Smith to check to see if the project includes the runway overrun.

The resurfacing and lights are among several projects the county has undertaken since assuming sole ownership of the airport.

Until earlier this year, the airport was a joint venture of the city and county. Recent legislation transferred all of the city and airport authority money and assets to the county. The airport, hangars, equipment and infrastructure are valued somewhere between $20 million and $30 million.

Improvements also will be made to the airport's fuel tank farm and to Corporate Hangar No. 1, Smith said. The hangar is older one and insulation inside the metal building would be replaced, he said.

A number of other "minor" landscaping and hangar improvements will be made as well, he said.

Currently, another DOT crew is at the airport helping clean out ditches.

There are plans to expand the airport property as well.

Anderson asked Smith about progress on the planned purchase of 42 additional acres located east and northeast of the airport.

Smith said the county continues to wait on the state concerning a $363,000 grant that would be used to purchase the land.

Another change involves the facility's hours of operation.

Smith said an administrative decision was made to shorten airport hours. Currently, the airport is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The new hours will be 8 a.m. to 6 p.m

"We are finding that from 6 p.m. to 8 in the evening that our traffic is not there," Smith said. "However, whenever anyone calls in, we are available 24 hours a day. Someone is there within moments. We do that now."

Smith said the county had received high marks following recent inspections by the Transportation Security Administration and the FAA.

Commissioners questioned Smith as to what the airport would be named now that the city is no longer involved.

"We are leaving it Goldsboro-Wayne Airport until the spring when there will be legislation to abolish the actual (airport) authority," he said. "The authority is actually just paper now. We want to get a feel for a name first."

Most members of the old authority stepped down to clear the way for the transition of the airport to be operated as a county department.

Smith, county Finance Officer Pam Holt, Emergency Services Direct-or Joe Gurley, Clerk to the Board Marcia Wilson and county Purchasing Manager Noelle Woods were appointed to the authority by commissioners in July.

Gurley is in charge of the airport as a county department and was elected by the authority as its chair. Ms. Woods is vice chairman and Ms. Wilson is secretary-treasurer. Longtime member Paul King remains on the board.

Doug Lancaster is airport manager.