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Truckloads of soil making their way to expanded runway

November 30, 2005|by TARA REILLY

WASHINGTON COUNTY

tarar@herald-mail.com

It might look like dirt, but the Hagerstown Regional Airport calls it soil.

Whatever the correct term, truckloads of it have been making up a large part of the airport's runway extension project for more than a year.

C. William Hetzer Inc. has been hauling the material daily from the 40 West Landfill to Hagerstown Regional Airport since spring of 2004.

"They don't call it soil," Commissioner Doris J. Nipps said of airport officials. "I've been corrected a number of times."

Nipps said the makeup of the landfill soil puts it in a different category than dirt, and "normal" dirt wouldn't work for the project.

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In any case, 1.77 million cubic yards of soil have been placed on the construction site with 134,687 cubic yards left to go, according to a Nov. 17 memorandum from Project Manager Mahesh S. Kukata.

Of the 1.77 million cubic yards, C. William Hetzer said by phone Tuesday that the company has hauled more than 1.3 million cubic yards from the landfill. The remaining material is from the construction site.

Nipps said all of the required soil could be at the site within 30 days, depending on weather.

Trucks haul the soil sometimes six days a week, and each truck can hold about 10 to 11 cubic yards, equaling a lot of trips, Hetzer said.

"It's not as complicated as building a bridge," he said. "We're just hauling landfill dirt."

The Washington County airport is using the soil as fill for its $60.2 million runway project, which will extend over U.S. 11 when completed in 2007.

The project will lengthen Runway 9-27 from 5,461 feet to 7,000 feet and add 1,000-foot safety areas at each end of the runway, bringing it up to Federal Aviation Administration mandates.

The County Commissioners awarded a $17.4 million contract for the project's first phase, known as Package 1, to Hetzer, which submitted the lowest bid to the county for that phase.

While Package 1 is nearing an end, another package continues.

The commissioners awarded a $17.4 million contract for Package 3 to New Enterprise (Pa.) Stone & Lime Co. Inc. in August.

That package includes relocating U.S. 11 to accommodate the extension and the construction of two bridges and taxiway areas.

Airport officials have said 2,500 linear feet of U.S. 11 will be relocated, as well as 400 linear feet of Byers Road and 900 linear feet of Air View Road. The completion of Package 3 is scheduled for May 30, 2007.

The second package, which includes construction of a hold apron, is expected to begin in spring 2006. Runway paving and taxiway extensions, part of Package 4, are expected to start in the winter of 2006.

The FAA is footing the bill for most of the project by agreeing to pay $47 million of the $60.2 million price tag. The state agreed to pay $10.6 million and the county will pay $2.6 million toward construction.

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