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Weather break needed before airport work starts

City officials are hopeful an airport runway paving project canbegin in the near future.

“Right now, we’re just waiting on the weather,” said BoyceBullock, airport manager.

In December, aldermen awarded a $441,341 bid to Dickerson andBowen for an overlay of the 5,000-feet long, 75-feet wide runway.Funding for the project is coming from the Federal AviationAdministration.

Also included in the project is installation of new landinglights to help pilots as they approach the runway. The lights helpassure proper alignment between the aircraft and the runway, saidEngineer Jeff Green.

Green said electrical preparations for the two lights, one ateach end of the runway, was done in February.

“We’re waiting for the lights themselves to come in,” Greensaid.

For the paving work, Bullock said the temperature needs toremain above 50 degrees for several consecutive nights before workcan begin. Green is coordinating with Dickerson and Bowen officialsabout the work schedule and when the paving can be done.

“You need to catch a good stretch of weather,” Green said.

Bullock was optimistic about the weather improving.

“If we don’t have a cold snap, I think we’ll be good to startwithin the next few weeks,” Bullock said.

Bullock said the overlay project will require the airport to beclosed for three weeks. He said the paving would take about a week,followed by a two-week curing process.

Airport closure notices will be placed in severalaviation-related publications, Bullock said. Also, large X’s willbe placed at the ends of the runway to notify approaching pilotsthat the airport is closed.

The overlay is not the only improvement planned for theairport.

“We’re going to put a fence around the perimeter, too,” Bullocksaid.

Bullock said the FAA requires fences around airports that haveinstrument landing systems, which assist pilots in landing duringbad weather. The Brookhaven airport currently does not have thelanding system.

“This is part of the long range plans,” said Bullock, addingthat more federal aviation funds would be needed before the citycan pursue that project.

Bullock said the landing system also requires additional taxiways and lights. For now, though, officials are concentrating onthe runway improvements.

“What we’re doing now will take all the money we got…,”Bullock said. “It’s going to be nice when it gets finished.”