Work has begun to remove trees, brush and empty homes near the Columbia-Marion County Airport as part of a more than $10 million runway expansion.
Engineer Jeff Dungan said the work kicked off recently and is going well.
“We got the grant that we had hoped to get, $10,250,000, all 100 percent federally funded. There is $1.5 million left of things to do under this contract that we have going. They have applied for that. I would anticipate that in the next six months we’d get the funding, so that’s great,” he said.
Dungan said crews had been clearing and burning off brush already.
“Beacon Construction is doing the work out front with the demolition of the homes and the clearing for the re-routing of Airport Road, and then Walters Construction of Laurel is doing the actual runway extension. Their contract is over $7 million,” he said. “They will do the grading and the other parts of the project. The runway has been partially closed. It’s all moving on.”
Dungan said he and Mayor Justin McKenzie had been working on the closure of the rubbish pit near the end of the runway. The permit application is ready, and the county’s solid waste plan now has to be amended to show that the rubbish pit is being closed and moved to the existing garbage transfer site on Mississippi 586 near Foxworth.
Bids are currently being taken to prepare the site and will be discussed at a future Columbia Board of Aldermen meeting.
“That preparation is just some clearing and grubbing, some fencing, some storm water stuff and some gravel,” Dungan said. “We have drawings where it is laid out. There are some gates that need to be installed and things like that. You’ll have a site out there where somebody can go and dispose of rubbish, and you’ll have an operator out there.”