CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Yeager Airport is hoping its emergency plan, which includes a project to rebuild and extend the airport’s runway, will get on President Donald Trump’s high priority list of infrastructure projects nationwide.
Airport officials submitted the plan to Governor Jim Justice last week in hopes of having the governor submit it to the Trump Administration.
“President Trump has created this High Priority Infrastructure Projects list that he’s seeking to put money in and Yeager wanted to try to take advantage of any monies that might be available under that,” said Mike Plante, airport spokesman.
The plan includes lengthening the runway by 1,200 feet and creating safety zones on either end. The runway would extend into Coonskin Park in Charleston. The airport wouldn’t need to rebuild the overrun area on the other end that collapsed two years ago.
“It’ll give us 8,000 foot or more of usable runway, which will be better for commercial aircraft taking off and landing at Yeager and it will improve the overall runway environment for the airport,” Plante said.
In exchange for the land at Coonskin, Plante said the airport would build a new outdoor sports complex.
“Coonskin Park usage is up dramatically and we see this as a possibility to not only improve the airport, but to also improve the park,” he said.
The total estimated cost of the plan is $290 million. The runway extension project would cost about $125 million.
This comes just days before the two year anniversary of the massive hillside collapse at Yeager Airport’s overrun area. The disaster, which occurred Mar. 12, 2015, destroyed a church and displaced a number of residents living along Keystone Drive in Charleston.
Plante said they need to get this project going. He said federal help will go a long way.
“If we were able to get the full amount, we would be able to do all these things much sooner than we otherwise would be able to do them,” he said.
Construction won’t take place for at least a few years, Plante said.