CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Yeager Airport has a special board meeting scheduled Monday to accept a $13.4 million grant from the federal government to rebuild a collapsed overrun area.
“It’s something we’ve been waiting on for two and a half years since the collapse,” said Airport Director Terry Sayre.
The hillside at Yeager’s overrun safety area slipped on March 12, 2015. The collapse destroyed a church and two homes.
Since then, airport officials have been working to secure funds from the FAA to rebuild the Engineered Material Arresting System — a bed that sits at the end of a runway to reduce the risk of a runway excursion.
On Wednesday, the $13.4 funding was announced by West Virginia’s congressional leaders: U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), as well as First District Congressman David McKinley (R-W.Va.), Second District Congressman Alex Mooney (R-W.Va.) and Third District Congressman Evan Jenkins (R-W.Va.).
The money will fund the first phase of the project which includes slightly reducing the length of the runway on the 5-end, where the slide occurred.
Sayre said the installation of a new EMAS bed will greatly improve safety at the airport.
“The EMAS has been tested here in 2010. We know that it works,” he said. “This is will reduce weight penalties for the airlines and help us get back to normal landing distances here at the airport and which will help the traveling public,” he said
The long term goal is to extend the other end of the runway into Charleston’s Coonskin Park.
“We’ll be ready to start construction hopefully later this year or early in the spring and get this finished by this time year,” Sayre said.
The Yeager board meets Monday to approve the federal grant and to meet with West Virginia’s congressional delegation. Officials will meet at the end of Runway 5 beginning at 10:30 a.m.