(SALEM) - BF&S Civil Engineers, who took over as consulting engineers for Salem's airport project earlier this year, set a goal: that two parcels of property essential for the project will be purchased this year and that dirt will be moved this year to build the runway.
The Leader Democrat reports that Corey Harper, airport planner for BF&S, met with the Salem Board of Aviation Commissioners and is now advertising for a contractor for the first phase of the runway project, grading and drainage for the new 3,000-foot runway.
Harper says negotiations are being finalized for two parcels that have yet to be purchased.
Harper says the air board has authorized applying to the Federal Aviation Administration for a grant of up to $1.9 million. He added that the FAA has asked that the project be accelerated, but Harper also cautioned that there is much uncertainty when dealing with that organization saying nothing is ever final with the FAA until they write the check, but they asked to expedite the project.
When the new runway is constructed; the old runway will be closed.
Access to the new airport will be via Drive In Theater Road, off of Bee Line Road. A house that has already been purchased is to be used as a terminal building.
In addition to the runway, the grading and draining project involves a parallel taxiway apron and parking for vehicles.
Harper told the council what is meant by moving dirt, explaining that one area has to be cut 22 feet while another has to be filled 18 feet. Which means a lot of dirt will be moved from one place to another.
The project involves installation of a significant number of drainage structures, adding that the project is complicated because of the karst terrain in that area. Efforts have to be made to prevent either upstream or downstream flooding. Harper says crews will have to comply with state and federal regulations and be sure there is no impact to adjoining landowners.
Harper says all documents for the project must be submitted to the FAA by the end of August.
Bids for the grading and drainage project are to be opened during a meeting of the airboard set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 27.
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