A grant from the Federal Aviation Administration toward the Marshall County Airport Authority will go toward some infrastructure improvement projects in the coming weeks, enhancing the quality of the airfield.
U.S. Sens. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., announced the grant in the total of $269,876 from the FAA, part of an annual grant applied for by the Airport Authority to continue upkeep on the airfield.
Airport Manager Susan Board said Friday that the improvements to be made include perimeter fencing, tree trimming and the upgrading of drainage ditches alongside the runways. These projects are expected to begin within a few weeks.
“The fence and tree clearing funds will help ensure that the Marshall County Airport remains a safe and viable airfield well into the future, and the drainage project addresses much needed infrastructure improvements,” Board said.
Contracts for the projects, Board said, were awarded to Litman Excavating of New Martinsville, while the tree trimming would be handled by the Maryland-based Beitzel Corp.
Board said the improvements were “much needed” and that the county airport officials had been working toward this grant for the majority of the year.
Maintenance Director Martin Dofka said the drainage upgrade is a continuation of an older landscaping effort, where channels were dug alongside the runways to divert water. Fifteen years after the initial work, Dofka said the culverts have begun to collapse, necessitating some hardware improvements to continue ensuring the water flows freely.
“When they put some drainage ditches along the runway, they just dug a ditch along the runway, so now it’s hard to mow grass, and they’re falling in,” he said. “They’re putting pipe in there, running other things over into the pipe, and putting drains in over the hill to channel it out. … Drainage along the runway isn’t working properly, and that leads to problems in the winter with freezing.”