County seeking bids for multimillion-dollar airport project

Barbara Miller
Observer Reporter

The Washington County commissioners Thursday unanimously voted to seek bids for what is expected to be a multimillion-dollar infrastructure project at the Washington County Airport.

Earth-moving, tree-cutting and other site preparation of 4.8-acres will be a prelude to the construction of an apron, taxiway, access road and parking lot, plus utilities.

The county eventually hopes this north side of the runway will be home to four hangars – not included in the bid at this stage – so the airport can provide additional space for corporate aircraft.

William McGowen, executive director of the Washington County Redevelopment Authority, expects funding for the infrastructure to come from a combination of sources, including $1 million from the Local Share Account of gambling revenue from The Meadows Racetrack and Casino. Additional money will come from the state Bureau of Aviation.

A wooded slope will be leveled, and excess soil will be used for fill to increase the size of safety areas that should be at least 200 feet wide to the center line of the runway.

The county also will be sealing cracks in the runway and repainting its pavement markings. McGowen said the work is necessary to sustain the surface until full-depth runway reconstruction begins in 2022.

“It’s a good thing,” McGowen said. “The airport is continuing to grow and improve.”

Ninety-five percent of money for the runway project will come from the Federal Aviation Administration, with the remainder split between the state Bureau of Aviation and a county match from the capital budget.

The commissioners also approved a supplemental $58,299 to the redevelopment authority, which operates the airport for the county, contract with CDI-Infrastructure LLC, doing business as L.R. Kimball for the north side development, and a $68,562 professional services agreement with the same firm for the runway surfacing project.