August 23, 2007

Airport Upgrades to Begin After Antique Fair Fly-In

A busy weekend at Briggs-Smith Memorial Airport will be followed up with additional traffic on Monday, August 27th. Planes will fill the air on Sunday, August 26th for the annual fly-in dinner in conjunction with the Scotland County Antique Fair. The following day, work crews will be converging on the site to begin construction of a new taxiway at the facility as part of nearly $600,000 in upgrades being funded by federal grants.

Visitors at the airport on Sunday will be treated to lunch from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. A number of pilots will also be offering plane rides to interested parties. The cost per individual is $10 per ride with pilots scheduled to start flying as early as 8:00 a.m.

It will mark the last time the annual tradition will use the existing approach to the runway.

Earlier this year the City of Memphis awarded a contract to Chester Bross Construction of Hannibal for construction of a new 100x250 taxiway apron as well as lighting upgrades and runway repairs.

Representatives from the contractor met with city officials and project engineer Brian Garkie of Crawford, Murphy & Tilly, Inc. of Springfield for a pre-construction conference on August 13th.

Crews were prepared to start work the following week, but with the scheduled activities, the project start date was delayed until August 27th.

The project is allotted 63 calendar days for completion but Layne Colgrove of Chester Bross Construction indicated his crews should have the job done prior to the end of October barring unforeseen weather setbacks.

The contractor indicated that site preparation would likely consume the initial workweek with construction truly getting underway the first week in September.

The plan allocates up to 35 days for grading and dirt work, but Colgrove noted this was a conservative estimate that could be cut in half without any weather stoppages.

The plans call for the airport to remain open during nearly the entire project, with the construction site clearly identified to warn planes to take appropriate measures for a safe landing.

The engineers have allotted a seven-day window for the landing strip to be closed. The contractors noted this was a tight-schedule, with what might normally take two weeks, squished into a shortened window for completion. The engineers noted the concerns but pointed out the project was designed to limit the down time for the facility.

Currently the closure is scheduled for October 15th22nd, but the contractor will officially announce the time frame closer to the date. The contract requires 72-hour notice to the city prior to closure of the airport.

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