Ground will be broken for the runway extension project at MidCoast Regional Airport at Wright Army Airfield on Thursday morning.
Liberty County Administrator Joey Brown said the extension will allow the airport to accommodate aircraft large enough for military, civilian and corporate uses.
The project involves adding 1,500 feet to the main 5,000-foot runway. There are two runways at the airport. The extension costs about $13.7 million and will be constructed by Seaboard Construction Co.
The city of Hinesville, Liberty County and the Liberty County Development Authority entered into a partnership in May to pay off a $3.1 million loan to fund the runway extension. Each entity will pay $46,233.33 per year for 15 years. Additional costs will be paid by the Federal Aviation Administration ($1.8 million), and the Georgia Department of Transportation’s aviation sector (about $8.5 million), Brown said.
“The ability to provide this extension helps both with the local aviation expansion efforts as well as the sustainability of Fort Stewart as a vital economic engine for the area,” Brown said.
Invitations were sent to state senators, representatives and local leaders. The groundbreaking will feature an invocation and remarks, followed by a reception.
Construction will take an estimated 265 days from the time of notice to proceed. The notice to proceed, Brown said, will be issued within three weeks.
Last month, the Board of Commissioners approved refinancing the bond debt. During a planning workshop before the refinancing was approved, Brown and Chief Financial Officer Kim McGlothlin explained refinancing two bonds, one taxable and the other tax-exempt, would result in about $1 million of savings.
The refinancing allows the savings to be used toward paying off the runway extension project. Brown also previously said that the taxable bonds apply to the section of the airfield leased to the military and the tax-exempt bonds apply to joint-use areas, such as the runway.