Yeager Airport officials excited as EMAS system, other projects near completion

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Yeager Airport Director Terry Sayre called Wednesday at the airport “one of the best days we’ve had in the past four years.”

That is because blacktop began being put down on the EMAS system at Runway 5, as the runway was destroyed in the May 2015 hillside collapse. Sayre said the EMAS blocks can now start being delivered and put into place, sighting the near completion of the $25 million project.

The EMAS system completion, slated for the end of July, was just one of the numerous projects discussed Wednesday at the airport’s construction committee meeting.

“The EMAS blocks will be sitting on the new blacktop that is going to cover the fill area on the 5-end from the existing end of the runway out to the wall,” Sayre said.

An EMAS system, which stands for engineered materials arrestor system, is designed to stop aircraft if they go off the runway.

Sayre said close to 50 tractor trailers delivering the blocks to complete the system will be rolling into the airport grounds within the next few days.

In just more than a week, the Marshall Board of Governors is expected to vote on the possibility of an aviation school at the airport, Sayre said.

The GA Roadway project, that would be used as an anchor to the program, is nearing completion and was shown to the construction committee on Wednesday. Sayre said that should be completed in July as well.

“We would be excited to get the process started here,” Sayre said of the aviation school. “We are going to have the road completed soon. We are going to have the access, we will have all the utilities there. We are ready when Marshall is ready.”

Also on Wednesday, the construction committee voted to recommend approval $8 million worth of PFC projects to the board next week.

Those projects that Sayre said would “more modernize the terminal” include a terminal rehab, restroom rehab in the terminal, a new entrance at the restaurant area, terminal roofs, terminal HVAC system, new lighting on the ramp, two new jet bridges, and a couple of new dump trucks.

The new entrance at the restaurant area is a part of the whole switching of food vendors at the airport. Sayre said one of the new restaurants, The Conjunction: Charleston, started operations on Tuesday night but in the sterile area of the airport.

“We apologize to the public for any inconvenience,” Sayre said. “We are trying to work with the previous vendor to get the restaurant area downstairs on the public side cleaned out to where the new vendor can operate there.”

In total, $35 million in projects are currently happening at the Charleston airport.

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