Masters week is the busiest time of year for most industries in the CSRA and airports are no exception. Burke County hopes to alleviate some of the air traffic shared by area airports in the future.
Right now, the runway at Burke County’s airport (BXG) is 3,500 feet. In 2 weeks, crews start construction on a runway extension that will increase the length to 5,000 feet. The added footage will allow corporate jets and charter planes to land in Burke County.
County Administrator Merv Waldrop says the runway extension will cost a little more than $2 million. 25% of the funds will come from Burke County’s TSPLOST and 75% will come from a state initiative launched by former Governor Nathan Deal.
“Last year Governor Deal found some money and said we want to help encourage economic development around the state and he pushed a program he said we’ve got 10 airports around the state that are ready to expand so we’re going to put money and he mentioned Burke County as one of the first airports on his list,” Waldrop says.
They also play to apply for more funding in the near future for additional expansion projects.
“Eventually we’re going to apply for funding for a fuel facility, a weather station that will help with navigation and then to put in some hangars,” lists Waldrop. “We would love to be able to provide some relief to Daniel Field and Bush Field during Masters week.”
An extended runway will help them attract Masters business and so will the taxi way they plan to have finished by spring of 2020. Construction for the taxi way should start in July and it is expected to cost an additional $800,000 and take about 6 months to complete. Burke County wants to provide Masters travelers an additional option to the airports already in use.
“[The other airports] would like some relief,” says Waldrop. “At least that’s the impression that we’ve gotten when we’re at meetings around. That they need some relief and extending the runway is going to help… If we had fuel, we’d have business Masters week.”
Waldrop says before they can install a fueling station, they will need to clear some trees on the property to meet certain guidelines.