CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- In an effort to save money in removing a rocky knoll along the departure path from Yeager Airport's main runway, the Charleston airport's governing board will consider two other ways to get rid of the 1.3 million cubic yards of earth to be excavated in the project.
One alternative involves buying or acquiring through condemnation a tract of land next to the Northgate business park, a short distance from the obstructing knoll, that bidders on the project have identified as the best site for disposing of the material. That unoccupied tract is currently held by a group of heirs.
The other alternative involves using a 1,400-foot conveyor system to haul the rock and dirt to a site along the Elk River for barge transportation to a possible re-use site, such as a riverbank rip-rapping project.
Contractors bidding on the obstacle removal project have told airport officials that several million dollars could potentially be saved by considering the alternative disposal sites, said Yeager Airport Director Rick Atkinson.
As a first step toward making that possible, the Charleston airport's governing board voted Wednesday to authorize the selection of an environmental consultant to complete environmental assessments of the two alternatives. The board also voted to award a $385,389 contract to the Trumbull Corporation to clear trees and brush and begin sediment control work at the runway obstruction site.
In other airport news, passenger boardings dipped 15 percent in July, mainly due to the cessation in June of AirTran's nonstop service to Orlando, according to marketing director Brian Belcher.
AirTran, which had been operating the Orlando flights profitably, was acquired by Southwest Airlines, which does not operate flights using outsourced ground staff, as AirTran had done. Belcher said he was optimistic another carrier will eventually be found to resume the Orlando service.
Meanwhile, Belcher said, Yeager's remaining low-cost carrier, Spirit, which recently upgraded to 180-seat aircraft for its flights to Myrtle Beach and Fort Lauderdale, was sold out on all of its July flights.
Reach Rick Steelhammer at rsteelham...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5169.