Airport work in Morgantown likely to begin next week

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Soon, the Morgantown Municipal Airport will be rumbling with the sound of earth moving equipment as well as the whine of the turbo-prop, according to airport director Jonathon Vrabel.

Pittsburgh-based Doss Enterprises has been awarded the Phase I runway extension project valued at about $5.7 million.

“We’re waiting on final paperwork from the FAA to give us that start date,” Vrabel said on WAJR’s Talk of the Town,” We hope to receive that late this week or early next week and we’re planning on having the contractor start immediately.”

The project includes a 1,001-foot extension of the runway and construction of the I-68 Commerce Park. There are two borrow sites on airport property to create fill to complete the runway work. One of those sites will be the future home of the industrial park slated to have clean, light to heavy industrial or logistics activities.

“As we are bringing that borrow site down and flattening it that will be creating the future I-68 Commerce Park,” Vrabel said,” Another part of the development for this entire area.”

The total runway extension is valued at $50 million. Phase one of the work will cost about $7.7 million and funded completely with federal grants.

“A supplemental FAA grant, we received $7 million this year,” Vrabel,” Normally, we have to have a local match of 10-percent or about $750,000 and that was covered this year by the CARES grant.”

According to Vrabel, business is down about 60-percent due to the pandemic. The biggest decrease has been in corporate aviation that Vrabel says is majority of their business.

“The pandemic has hurt most businesses including our own,” Vrabel said,” But, the silver lining is we got the funding we needed to get the runway extension moving.”

As coronavirus case numbers have dropped, vaccinations have increased and Vrabel says corporate aviation is also gradually coming back.

“We’re starting to see an uptick at the end of this month now and we’re hoping that continues going forward,” Vrabel said,” Hopefully the economy will start rebounding, seeing corporate aviation grow is an indicator the economy is improving.”

In addition to corporate aviation the airport also offers flights to Baltimore-Washington International and Pittsburgh International.