CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Yeager Airport could have a new Engineered Material Arresting System in place by later this year to replace the one that collapsed at the end of the airport’s runway almost three years ago.

Terry Sayre, director of the Charleston airport, said Friday the EMAS blocks will be delivered by October from the manufacturer Zodiac Aerospace.

The money for the blocks comes from a $13.5 million grant from the Federal Aviation Administration for slope repairs. The funding was announced in Sept. 2017.

Installation of a new EMAS bed will greatly improve safety in the event of an aircraft overrun, Sayre said.

“It’ll get rid of weight penalties here at the airport. It’ll help us get our runway length. It’ll help us get an additional 575 feet declared distance back, which will help us with safety and of course EMAS blocks themselves to provide a safety feature,” he said.

The project went out to bid Friday afternoon. A mandatory pre-bid is set for Tuesday.

“We hope to give a notice to proceed sometime in March to the lowest qualified bidder,” Sayre said.

The goal is to finish rebuilding the runway’s 5-end, where the collapse happened, by the end of this year.

Yeager’s hillside collapsed and destroyed a church along Keystone Drive in March 2015. No one was hurt, but a number of Charleston residents were displaced for months.

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