Airport Construction Update

January 25, 2023

Good afternoon all,

I hope you all are having a great start to the new year. 

I wanted to send out another airport update in order to keep you better informed on what is going on.

The FAA has started work on the VOR.  The work will include changing out old cables and antennas and other upgrades. It will also include a frequency change to the VOR which will be NOTAM’d and ultimately published. This work should be completed in March, weather permitting.

Just a reminder…once the VOR work, (DME specifically), is completed, we will set up a flight check on the Localizer and Glide Slope and get them back up again. 

Runway 2-20 will be closed tomorrow and possibly Friday. Contractors will be doing core samples on the runway and the safety areas in preparation for the 2-20 project that will begin in April. 

Although there is no noticeable progress, the Taxiway A project continues to move forward.  GDOT and the FAA are set to reallocate the funding to a revised project.  The intent is to finalize the redesign and begin the rebidding process.  As I stated in the past, our first priority is to get A3 completed first and foremost and once we get the rebidding completed, I will have a good timeline that I will share with all of you. 

We have two new tenants on the airport.  One is a citation that will rent C21 and the other is Airstar who successfully went through the RFP process for the 990 Hangar, (currently the Flight School of Athens).  Both will be a welcome addition to the airport.   

The airport will soon be sending out another RFP on the Colvin Hangar. 

Thank you all for your support of the airport.  I thank you for your patience and understanding as we work through some of the issues we have had with Taxiway A. I know this does not make me the most popular person right now but we will get through this and will have something we can be proud of in the end.

Please feel free to call or email me with any questions.

Thanks,

Mike


January 11, 2023

All,

I want to update you on the progress of our projects and the lack of progress on the Taxiway A project and apologize that this email is long overdue.

Taxiway A Project:

As you recall from past updates, the Taxiway A project has experienced several set-backs.  These set-backs include a late start by the contractor due COVID restrictions and employee shortages, delays due to waterline and rock issues, supply chain issues, escalation / delay costs, and several months of delay due to the winter shut down.  The delay was compounded with all of these issues coming on at one time.

During this time, the airport had to do its due diligence for each one of these concerns in order to make sure that we exhausted all efforts for every obstacle we were facing within this project. 

During the life of this project, the airport would move from one issue to another fairly quickly and I did not communicate the progress, or lack of, because we had several balls in the air and plans were changing on a weekly basis as decisions were being made.  My intent was not to write a book on the progress, but to communicate with you as the decisions were being finalized along the way. 

As noted in the past emails, we are in a stop work mode due to the winter months and some supply chain issues.  However, I am now able to firmly say that we are going to be parting ways with the current contractor and we will be repackaging and rebidding this project.  This is actually a good thing.  The current contractor presented several Change Orders during project that were totally unacceptable to us and we, (along with the FAA and GDOT), decided it was best to cut ties and move on. 

Our funding is still intact and we will be able to rebid fairly quickly and get this project started back up again in short order. I will share a time line on this project as soon as we get to that point. 

Once we do get started, we will finish up Alpha 3 first thing so we can open it back up before we move on to any other part of the project. 

 Runway 2-20:

The runway will go through a full depth reclamation project starting in April.  The old asphalt will be milled up and then reused with a mix of concrete.  Once set, a 4-6 inch layer of asphalt will be placed on top of that.  The project also includes new runway lighting.  This project does not include any work to be done on TWY B at this time.  The project will also enhance the Safety Areas at the end of each runway.  This project should only take 45 days to complete, however weather could come into play on some of those days. 

Localizer: 

The Localizer is operational however it is not usable at this time.   The Localizer approach is a LOC/DME approach and relies on the DME.  The DME is located at the VOR and is maintained by the FAA. During an FAA Flight Check a few months back, the FAA noticed some irregularities in the signals from the DME.  The FAA had since worked on it to fix the issues.  However, shortly after that time, the FAA has announced that they plan to do some major work on the VOR.  This work will take place from 1/23/2023 until 3/8/2023. The VOR and DME will be unusable during these dates.   Once this work is completed, and the DME is up and running again, we will schedule an FAA Fight Check to get the Localizer and Glideslope operational again.


Runway Obstruction Free Area:

The ROFA south of Runway 9-27 and at the approach end of Runway 9 has been cleared.  This area was overgrown with small trees and brush and needed to be cleared to satisfy FAA regulations.

The project is completed. 

 Please feel free to contact me with any questions regarding any of these projects. My direct line is 762-400-7886. Or email me with any questions.  Since decisions have been made to a clear path on Taxiway A, I will email you more frequent on the progress of this project.  I will also begin regular emails as we get closer to the start of Runway 2-20 project and as we get closer to a Flight Check on the Localizer.

The Athens Ben-Epps Airport is an airport we all can be proud of and this will only enhance the airport for us all.

Thanks,

Mike


September 16, 2022

Good Afternoon,

Please find the airport construction update below.

 As most of you know, AHN has received several grants for a multitude of projects that have been on our Capital Improvement Plan.  These projects include:

  1. Localizer Project
  2. Taxiway A Reconstruction Project
  3. Runway 2-20 Reconstruction Project, and
  4. The Runway Obstruction Free Area Clearing

 Please see the detailed update below as of this date.

1) The Localizer Project :  FAA Flight Check is on the airport today flying the Localizer.  They noticed an intermittent signal coming from the DME on the VOR that will have to be looked at by the FAA in order for them to fully deem the Localizer operational. (the Localizer approach relies on the DME).  I am thankful that they are being thorough and making sure that all components will be safe.  More to come on the Flight Check.

2) The Taxiway A Reconstruction Project 

The airport and contractor continue to wait on back ordered materials due to supply chain delays.  As mentioned previously, I want them to have all of the supplies in hand once they start work again so the project will not be delayed any further due to other material delays and will continue without interruption until final completion.

Again, I know that the back taxi on 9/27 is not ideal and is a huge inconvenience.  Please continue to communicate with each other, especially when the tower is closed for the evening.  We will continue to update the NOTAMS as the project progresses and as things change within the scope of the project.  In the meantime, we have issued the contractor a Notice-to-Proceed.

This project was designed to put new asphalt and lighting on the Taxiway.  The project is split up in two grants.  One grant covers the portion of Taxiway A which includes A1, A2 and A3.  The other grant includes the work for the new parallel portion past A3 to B3. 

3) Runway 2-20 Reconstruction Project: This project will lay new asphalt and new runway lighting.  As mentioned previously, this project is currently delayed due to the lack of drainage piping which and electrical components, much like taxiway A.  The plan was to get this project started in October, however, the contractor is asking for this project to begin in April.  I have agreed to this push due to football season upon us and the fact that we do not want them to start work until the contractor has all materials on site for the project.

4) The Runway Obstruction Free Area Clearing Project:  this project is an area of brush and small trees that are in the Safety Area and also the ROFA.  Both of these areas must remain clear of any obstructions.  This project will not shut down any runways or taxiways but is a must for a safer airport. We are currently working with ACC Purchasing to bid the project out.  

 I will continue to update you as I get more information.  

 Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have about the projects and I will be  happy to respond.

 Thanks,

Mike

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July 26, 2022

Good Afternoon,

 Please find the airport construction update below.

 As most of you know, AHN has received several grants for a multitude of projects that have been on our Capital Improvement Plan.  These projects include:

1)      Localizer Project

2)      Taxiway A Reconstruction Project

3)      Runway 2-20 Reconstruction Project, and

4)      The Runway Obstruction Free Area Clearing

 Please see the detailed update below as of this date.

 1)      The Localizer Project :  We are currently waiting on the FAA to Flight Check it for sign off.  We are told that the FAA is unable to fly the localizer until next month.  Once the localizer is approved and turned on, we will then fly the Glide Slope and will once again have all components of the ILS up and running.  

2)      The Taxiway A Reconstruction Project began 12 months ago and was designed to put new asphalt and lighting on the Taxiway.  The project is split up in two grants.  One grant covers the portion of Taxiway A which includes A1, A2 and A3.  The other grant includes the work for the new parallel portion past A3 to B3.  

Last week, the airport met with GDOT, Holt Engineering, and the contractor.  The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the project start-up and some of the hurdles that we face such as supply chain delay on cement, drainage pipe, electrical wire, and electrical parts, just to name a few.  The airport and contractor are working through those issues and want to make sure that once we  get started again, the project is not halted due to additional supply chain delays and that everything will continue on without any further interruption until final completion.

Again, I know that the back taxi on 9/27 is not ideal and is a huge inconvenience.  Please continue to communicate with each other, especially when the tower is closed for the evening.  We will continue to update the NOTAMS as the project progresses and as things change within the scope of the project.  

3)      Runway 2-20 Reconstruction Project: This project will lay new asphalt and new runway lighting.  As mentioned previously, this project is currently delayed due to the lack of drainage piping which has a 14 week delay.  Cement is also an issue and may delay the project even more.  We will not start work until the contractor has everything they need for the project. 

4)      The Runway Obstruction Free Area Clearing Project:  this project is an area of brush and small trees that are in the Safety Area and also the ROFA.  Both of these areas must remain clear of any obstructions.  This project will not shut down any runways or taxiways but is a must for a safer airport. We are currently in the Design Phase of this project.  

I will continue to update you as I get more information.  

Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have about the projects and I will be  happy respond.

Thanks,

Mike

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July 5, 2022

 

Good Evening,

I hope everyone had a wonderful and safe 4th of July weekend!

As most of you know, AHN has received several grants for a multitude of projects that have been on our Capital Improvement Plan for a while.  These projects include:

1)            Localizer Project

2)            Taxiway A Reconstruction Project

3)            Runway 2-20 Reconstruction Project, and

4)            The Runway Obstruction Free Area Clearing

Recently, I have been asked by several tenants about the progress of the projects.  Because of this,  I want to take some time to give you an update on the progress, or in some cases, the lack of progress as it may appear, of all of the projects current and soon to be.

1)            The Localizer project began 12 months ago and was designed to relocate the localizer out of the Safety Area and to update the localizer equipment.  The Localizer platform has been built and the localizer equipment has been installed.   The platform is made of wood and was painted last week.  We are currently waiting on the FAA to Flight Check it for sign off.  We are told that the FAA is unable to fly the localizer until next month.  Once the localizer is approved and turned on, we will then fly the Glide Slope and will once again have all components of the ILS up and running.  

2)            The Taxiway A Reconstruction project began 12 months ago and was designed to put new asphalt and lighting on the Taxiway.   The project is split up in two grants.   One grant covers the portion of Taxiway A which includes A1, A2 and A3.  The other grant includes the work for the new parallel portion past A3 to B3.   The current airport operation allows for A1 and A 2 to be currently used however it does require the aircraft to back taxi from that point.  I think we all can agree this is not the ideal situation.  There have been several factors that have delayed the project.  

A list of the major reasons for the delay is as follows:

a)            The project was delayed a little over a month from the start date due to the Construction companies having fewer workers because of the effects of the Pandemic and everyone forced to stay home.

b)            The contractor had decided to shut down operations from mid-November until February due to cold weather not being ideal to lay asphalt.   The cold temperatures would jeopardize the quality of the final product.

c)            Prior to the winter break, the contractor hit several areas of rock in the areas of A3 and the new parallel taxiway area in the project.  Time was taken to determine the extent of the rock and what the cost would be to blast the rock down to meet the project design.    It was determined that blasting was too expensive and more time was taken to re-design the project to bring the dirt back up to an elevation that would avoid the rock.  We are currently working with the contractor on a change order and the project will start up again once everything is approved.  

d)            The lack of supply is playing into the delay as well.   This includes, cement, drainage pipe, electrical wiring and parts for the lighting, not to mention the price of fuel being higher now and much more expensive than it has been just a few months back.  

With all of this said, we are working hard to get this project started back and will continue to do so.  My goal is to concentrate on getting  A1 to A3 completed, including the tie in to the ramp once the project starts back.   This will eliminate the back taxi that we are so tired of.  

3)            Runway 2-20 Reconstruction project will begin in the next few months.  This will be coordinated with the UGA football schedule.  The project will put down new asphalt and new runway lighting.   This project is currently delayed due to the lack of drainage piping which has a 14 week delay.  Cement is also an issue and may delay the project even more.  We will not start work until the contractor has everything they need for the project.

4)            The Runway Obstruction Free Area is the area south of runway 9-27.  It is an area of brush and small trees that are in the Safety Area and also the ROFA.   Both of these areas must remain clear of any obstructions.  This project will not shut down any runways or taxiways but is a must for a safer airport. We are currently in the Design Phase of this project.  

I apologize for the long email and explanation, however I thought it was necessary to educate everyone on the projects, old and new.  I will continue to update you as I get more information.  Future emails won’t be as long since I won’t have to explain the project and will just share updates.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have about the projects and I will be   happy respond.

Thanks,

Mike Mathews

Airport Director

Mike.mathews@accgov.com

706-613-3420 ext. 23