Yeager Airport officials celebrate end of runway project with block signing ceremony

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The final building blocks are now in place.

To commemorate the placement of the last layer of GeoFoam blocks for the Runway 5 EMAS rebuild project at Yeager Airport, dozens gathered at the site of the work for a block signing ceremony on Tuesday.

The rebuild is of the runway that collapsed in March 2015.

“We have gone through all the good times and the bad times,” Yeager Airport Director Terry Sayre said. “It’s a relief to see that go in and see the progress that we have made and to know that we are not far from completing this.”

Sayre is hopeful the completion of the $25 million EMAS system will take place in late July.

A membrane is needed to be put over the GeoFoam blocks to keep the moisture out and then Sayre said there will be between two and three feet of dirt put in.

After the dirt is put into place, a black top company will be in for work followed by Zodiac, the manufacturer of the EMAS.

“This will get us another 517 feet of runway back, it’ll get us an EMAS system, it’ll get us a runway safety area on the 5-end that really means something. Having the EMAS blocks there really counts,” Sayre said of the safety this provides to the airport.

So what makes the GeoFoam blocks crucial to the safety?

“Their weight is a lot less than regular dirt and you have less lateral pressure against the steel and concrete wall,” Sayre said.

The Kanawha County Commission, emergency management agency officials, construction workers, the airport board and workers, and attorneys in the runway suit all had the chance to sign the final block.

There was also a smaller block signed that will be placed in the airport.

Following the ceremony was the monthly Yeager Airport board meeting.

Another $10 million in construction projects were discussed as well as the passage of next fiscal year’s budget that includes a pay raise for Sayre.

Sayre’s salary will move from $154,000 to $180,000.

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