NCDOT grant will fund runway repaving

Published 2:01 pm Monday, April 3, 2017

Efforts to improve Washington-Warren Field airport continue.

During its meeting Monday, the Washington City Council authorized the mayor to sign a document hiring Talbert & Bright, the city’s airport engineers, to design a runway repaving project and put it out for bids. The engineering firm will be paid $179,899.50 for the work. The project concerns runway 5-23.

The city received a grant from the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Aviation Division to pay for the design element of the project.

The airport was built in 1942. Runway 5-23 is 5,000 feet long. Originally, the concrete runway was 150 feet wide. In 1993, the runway was overlaid with 1.5 inches to 2.5 inches of bituminous pavement. At that time, the overlay was 100 feet wide, and the runway marked to the 100-foot width, leaving a 25-foot wide concrete shoulder on each side, according to a city document. In 2003, a thermoplastic coal-tar slurry seal was applied to the runway.

An inspection of the runway in 2014 showed significant deterioration of the runway surface. The runway received a rating of 54, less than the 75 rating recommended by the state. The inspection report recommended major rehabilitation of the runway.

The project will include a preliminary review of two repaving options: bituminous pavement and concrete pavement overlays.

The grant for the airport, owned by the City of Washington, comes from the Federal Aviation Administration’s non-primary entitlement funds and through the state’s block-grant program for aviation-related projects. The funds are intended for airside safety needs first, after which other needs may be considered, according to a letter from Bobby L. Watson, an engineer with DOT’s Division of Aviation.

As a condition of receiving the grant, the city is required to contribute money to the improvement project.

“The purpose of the project is to rehabilitate the pavement surface and strengthen existing pavement to accommodate aircraft up to 60,000 lb.,”wrote Frankie Buck Jr., the city’s public-works director, in an email.

City officials consider the airport an economic-development tool and continue to seek grants and other funding sources in an effort to improve the airport and make it more attractive to aircraft owners, pilots and aviation-related enterprises.

During its Jan. 9 meeting, the Washington City Council authorized the city manager to negotiate (if necessary) and execute a lease for a section (about 2,800 square feet) of hangar between the city and Earl Malpass, who will use that space for aircraft-related operations limited to the storage of private aircraft owned, leased or maintained by him, according to a memorandum from Frankie Buck Jr., the city’s public works director, to the mayor and council members. The Airport Advisory Board discussed the matter and recommended the council approve the lease.

Councilman Doug Mercer said the activities that Malpass will perform at the hangar should help bring more business to the city-owned airport.


About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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