By Dennis Seid | NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – The runway extension project will cost a little more and take a little longer to complete thanks to some unexpected delays.
But the work should be finished by the end of summer.
On Monday, the Tupelo Airport Authority agreed to a $267,000 change order request from Century Construction to help move the project along.
Harrison Gregory, the project manager for Century, said in a letter to the board that the change order was necessary because of “an increase in subcontractor material costs and additional fuel and labor expenses.”
Crushed limestone increased $1.21 a ton, plus the company had to find an alternative site to find fill dirt for the project. The farther distance added costs for each load of dirt.
Colin Maloney, the company’s president, said some 370,000 cubic yards of dirt would have to be moved. Century asked for 66 cents more per cubic yard to cover transportation costs.
“That’s a large amount of dirt,” he said. “We’ll be moving 10,000 to 12,000 cubic yards a day, with 24 trucks running 10 hours a day.”
The dirt work is expected to take about three months to complete.
But first, the localizer – an antenna array that helps planes land – must be moved. That work should start in mid-January. Total construction time should take about 71/2 months.
The project to add 650 feet to the north end of the runway will extend the runway to 7,100 feet.
Century submitted the winning bid in October for a little more than $5.2 million, more than $746,000 less than the second-lowest bid.
But the temporary shutdown of the FAA in the fall delayed projects nationwide, including Tupelo’s runway project.
“These were delays neither Century Construction or the Tupelo Airport Authority had control of,” said airport executive director Josh Abramson.
The change order is a capped amount, which means the actual work cost could be cheaper, especially if engineers over-estimated the amount of dirt needed for the project, Abramson said.
Even with the change order, the work will come in nearly $479,000 lower than the next-lowest bid. Also, original estimates of the runway project were more than $8.1 million.