New grant money lands at airport

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 31, 2010

NATCHEZ — Phase two of the Natchez-Adams County Airport’s runway rehabilitation project is being prepped for take-off.

U.S. Sens. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., and Roger Wicker, R-Miss., recently announced more than 30 Mississippi airport facilities will benefit from $8.6 million in federal Airport Improvement Program grants. The Natchez-Adams County Airport has been awarded $104,661.

Airport Manager Clint Pomeroy said Tuesday the grant will go toward coal tar rejuvenation, a process that protects airport runways from outdoor elements.

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“A liquid is essentially sprayed on the surface of the asphalt and allows the asphalt to be resistant to oxidation caused by sunlight and rain,” Pomeroy said. “(The rejuvenation) stops the oxidation of the runway and preserves that surface for another 10 years.”

Pomeroy said the Federal Aviation Administration will fund 95 percent of the project, and the Mississippi Department of Transportation and the airport will each fund 2.5 percent of the project.

Cracks in the runway were sealed last year — a prerequisite for coal tar rejuvenation. Pomeroy said the airport spent approximately $136,000 last year to have Sunbelt Sealing Inc., smooth the runway surface.

Pomeroy said the runway rehabilitation is expected to save the airport $500,000. The airport will soon advertise bids for the project, and Pomeroy said he expects work to begin this summer. Pomeroy added the airport opened bids Tuesday for its secondary runway.

“By the end of the summer both of our runways will be retreated,” Pomeroy said.

Pomeroy said the project will only slightly interfere with pilot travel.

“The FAA grant is for our primary instrument runway. It will be closed for a few days as we work on it, but our other runway will be open,” Pomeroy said.

“We will issue notices to the airplane and aviation sources so they know for certain which days we will be working. We’re certainly not going to keep the runways closed any longer than we have to.”