Last updated: June 01. 2013 7:53AM - 658 Views
James Howell
Staff Writer

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Even though the construction efforts for the Ashe County Airport are expected to make steady progress, the last leg of the project will be re-bidded to the lowest bidder because on unforeseen difficulties.

During the Ashe County Board of Commissioners meeting on Jan. 22, Ashe County Manager Dr. Pat Mitchell informed the BOC that upcoming winter weather forced Vannoy’s Construction into an additional shutdown last October

According to Mitchell, these difficulties included inclement weather problems, the discovery of an underground stream, and the construction area contained more rocks than anticipated.

These barriers to the work’s completion caused Vannoy’s to file a few change orders, which modified their original contract. According to Mitchell, the county tried to work through the change orders to maintain the original contract, but eventually, the continued changes created a need to hash out a new contract.

According to Eric Payne, the manager at Ashe County’s airport, this means the additional grating work that was not completed in the first contract will be added to the new contract that will also include paving, painting and lighting the runway.

Payne said the construction to extend the runway is still on schedule, despite the re-bidding process. With the northwest portion of the airport completed, Payne expects the airport to be completed by late-summer 2013.

“I would say as of right now, we’re above 80 percent complete,” said Payne.

Payne said part of the reason the construction at the airport will be re-bid is because the construction efforts are funded, in part, by a grant from the federal government.

The grant was a $2.5 million matching grant, with 10 percent being provided by Ashe County and 90 percent matched by the grant. This federal grant was channelled the N.C. DOT’s Division of Aviation.

Payne said he wasn’t concerned about the re-bidding process as long as the project is completed in a timely manner.

“All we want is a bigger runway and that’s the bottom line,” said Payne.

According to Dr. Mitchell, Vannoy’s Construction will probably place a bid for the second contract, in essence, finishing the grating from their original contract before paving, painting and lighting the runway.

Before this project began, the Ashe County Airport runway was approximately 4,300 feet long. When the construction is completed, the runway will be over 5,000 feet in length, with an additional 300 feet of grass overrun.

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