In the next two months, the Richmond County Airport taxiway will be extended by 1,000 feet.
Public Works Director Bryan Land said the current taxiway is 4,000 feet long and will be 5,000 feet when finished, making the airport safer. The Richmond County Airport is located at 565 Airport Road in Rockingham.
According to Land, the total project will cost around $700,000 to complete.
“Barnhill Contracting was awarded our taxiway extension project, with a bid of $579,748,” said Land. “Hudson Paving was second with a bid of $625,023. The project will start in approximately 30 days and (will) be completed within 60 days. The project is a big deal for us because it will eliminate the need for planes to back taxi down the runway, which has been a major safety concern for many years.”
Common to smaller airports, “back taxi” is a ground procedure where an aircraft will use a portion of a runway as a taxiway; to move in the opposite direction from which it will take off or has landed.
Nearly all of this project was funded through grants, said County Manager Rick Sago. A VISION 100 Grant of $121,603 has been awarded to the county, which will go towards the project along with other funds, and the county is responsible for the remaining 10 percent, said Land.
According to Sago, this work will continue the improvements the county began many years ago.
“Currently aircraft have to back taxi down the runway prior to taking off, this project will eliminate that pattern,” said Sago. “The improvements made at the airport have certainly enhanced the functionality and appearance.”
Land said he and his colleagues often hear from folks who have landed at the airport that it is “one of the nicest in the state.”
“Many times economic development clients and other visitors visit the airport and it is critical to make a positive first impression,” said Sago. “Since the majority of the improvements that have been made at the airport, including these are done with 90 percent grant funds, the county saves a significant amount of money while at the same time, upgrading our facilities.”
— Staff Writer Dawn M. Kurry can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 15, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.