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Coastal Carolina Regional Airport expands tarmac

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NEW BERN, NC (WITN) An airport here in the east celebrated the completion of a major project that will help pave the way for larger aircraft to use the airport.

The Coastal Carolina Regional Airport in New Bern cut the ribbon on the expansion and improvements recently made to the airport apron.

The apron is the section of tarmac where planes park and load and unload passengers.

Construction began back in October and the project wrapped up last week.

Officials say they were able to make the $5.5 million apron expansion possible through federal grants and with money from the NC General Assembly.

Andrew Shorter, Airport Director says, "By expanding this we've added about 50%. We went from about 4 acres of tarmac to 6 acres of tarmac and while we did that we changed it from asphalt to concrete, which is capable of handling heavier and larger airplanes."

Airport officials say this project is part of a larger plan that will improve passenger capacity improvements, holding areas, larger ticketing counters and a re-configured TSA checkpoint.

Grand Strand Airport ramp rehab ahead of schedule
By Jason M. Rodriguez, November 15, 2013
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NORTH MYRTLE BEACH — The $2.9 million ramp rehabilitation project at Grand Strand Airport is ahead of schedule, and officials are reporting the noise from the first phase of construction hasn’t drawn complaints from nearby neighbors.


The airport is replacing the existing asphalt apron north of the Grand Strand terminal with a concrete surface. The first phase of the project began Oct. 1, and Georgia-based Summers Concrete Contracting has been working on it since.


Tom Hinkel, director of plans and compliance with the county’s Department of Airports, said plans have been running smoothly. “We’re five to 10 days ahead of schedule,” he said. “The weather’s held and we’re very fortunate and very lucky as far as the weather’s concerned.”


Hinkel said the first phase tasks of milling, excavation, compaction and grading is complete. He said at the current rate, Summers Concrete should have the first phase, which is the bulk of the work, done before Christmas.


The county has taken over responsibility for the airport this year. Aviation company Ramp 66 ran the 427-acre airport since 1978. Earlier this year, the county signed off on a plan to buy back the last seven years of the lease on the airport and took back management. Money used to buy out the contract came from $2 million the airport received from a sale of land. The move came on the heels of Ramp 66 not being able to find a private buyer. So, the county stepped in and used existing fuel and hangar contracts to obtain lower costs with the Grand Strand Airport. It also plans to see reduced liability insurance offered to governments by the state.


The county expects a $270,000 boost in revenue annually as it completes the take over.


The project is being funded by a $2.6 million grant from the Federal Aviation Administration, $56,000 in state grants and $235,000 of local money from the county’s Department of Airports.


Pat Apone, interim department of airports director for Horry County, said the airport has met with city officials to make sure lines of communication are open as construction is ongoing.


“You’re going to see a lot more of that as we go through these projects to make sure everybody’s aware of what’s happening,” she said.


Pat Dowling, spokesman for North Myrtle Beach, said the city appreciates the transparency.

 

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