Airport filling in the cracks

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 19, 2009

NATCHEZ — The Adams County Airport is hoping to create a smoother take-off.

Clint Pomeroy, airport manager, said the airport is in phase one of a runway project designed to save the airport up to $500,000.

“What we have are small cracks in the asphalt that allow water to get in and expand the cracks,” he said. “It is a natural aging process, but we are hoping to expand the life of the runway.”

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Pomeroy said the airport is spending approximately $136,000 to have Sunbelt Sealing Inc. come in and get started on smoothing out the runway.

Small cracks like this can become a problem during wintertime when water gets in — freezes and thaws — and this natural process causes cracks to get larger, Pomeroy said.

“The summer can cause problems as well because grass gets in and its roots will try to expand,” he said. “You won’t notice it on the highway because of the constant traffic, but a runway does not have the traffic a highway does.”

Phase two, Pomeroy said, will be a cold tar rejuvenation, provided the airport acquires a grant.

“This will prevent rocks and sand from getting lose from the binding of the asphalt,” he said. “You don’t want rocks to get in an airplane propeller or engine.”

Now is the right time to have these fixes done because if they wait too long they may have to spend an estimated $1 million on a new overlay, Pomeroy said.

“These projects should get another 10 years of use out of the runway,” he said. “We are trying to keep the airport going in the right direction.”