Tupelo firm to build runway extension

By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Century Construction of Tupelo was the low bidder for the runway extension project at Tupelo Regional Airport.
Six construction companies submitted bids for the project, which airport engineers and officials had estimated would cost about $8.15 million.
But Century’s bid was under that figure by more than a third.
The company’s base bid was $5,077,069.70, nearly $800,000 less than the next lowest bid submitted by Hill Brothers Construction of Falkner. The highest bid came in at more than $8.1 million, by Phillips Contracting of Columbus.
W.G. Construction of Ripley, Eutaw Construction of Aberdeen and Joe McGee Construction of Lake were the other firms that submitted bids.
The airport authority voted unanimously to approve the bid at its board meeting later on Tuesday.
“I’m happy we found a good local contractor,” said board member Glenn McCullough Jr.
Colin Maloney, president of Century Construction, said, “We’re ready to go to work.”
He said about 25 employees will be needed for the job.
With the bid accepted, the airport today will submit an application to fund the project.
Assuming a federal grant is approved by the Federal Aviation Administration, the city of Tupelo must approve and sign the grant agreement.
From there, the FAA will determine the timetable on when the project can begin. The agency is working on plans to move the localizer, an instrument used by pilots to land aircraft, to accommodate the 650-foot runway extension.
“We’re on the FAA’s timetable at this point,” said airport Executive Director Josh Abramson.
The project has already received a $544,000 grant for the design phase. The grant request being submitted today is for the construction phase.
In addition, with the construction bid coming under estimates, the city’s match for the grant will be about $170,000. Originally, officials thought the match would exceed $200,000.
And when construction does start, traffic on West Jackson Street Extended, which runs perpendicular to the north end of the runway, could see delays.
About 370,000 square feet of dirt will have to be trucked in for the project, which means trucks will be entering and exiting to and from that part of the road.
Abramson said the public will be warned well in advance about the work, and will be able to get updated information on the airport’s website at www.flytupelo.com.
“The airport has a web page dedicated to the runway construction,” he said. “Truck routes and construction work times will be published before work begins.”
dennis.seid@journalinc.com