MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Final permits have been secured and work on the 1,001-foot runway extension is getting underway. The work is valued at $5.7 million and will completed by Jane Lew-based Doss Enterprises. Fourteen other contractors submitted bids to do the work.
On WAJR’s Talk of the Town, Airport director Jonathon Vrabel said flight operations will continue during construction operations.
“The guys have mobilized this week, they’re in the process of mobilizing,” Vrabel said,” Within a few days they will start full excavation.”
Phase 1 work includes building the base for the 1001-foot extension, taxiway and parallel taxiway.
“This first phase is 285 days, right now the contractor thinks they’ll be able to get it done in about 240 days,” Vrabel said,” So, we’ll be done right around the end of the year- right around Christmas.”
The secondary purpose of the 4.4 million cubic yards of earthwork in Phase 1 is to construct the I-68 Commerce Park along with the runway project. When all three phases are complete there will also be 90 acres of pad-ready land for business expansion.
“We are taking all that aggregate from the future I-68 Commerce Park,” Vrabel said,” So, as we are performing all this excavation and building the runway the park is slowly being built.”
Bids for Phase 2 have been opened, but that portion of project has not been awarded. It’s expected to get started in the fall 2021.
The extension will increase safety margins in poor weather conditions and add efficiencies to commercial and private aircraft.
“You’re not going to see a 747 operating out of here because the runway is definitely not long enough for an aircraft that large,” Vrabel said,” But, larger aircraft, larger private jets- like a regional-style jet.”
Aircraft taking longer trips will also benefit from the runway extension.
If they were flying from Morgantown to California normally they wouldn’t be able to make that run from here because they couldn’t take a full tank of fuel,” Vrabel said,” So, now they can take that full tank of fuel and make it in a one-stop.”
Phase 3 is planned to begin in early 2022.