JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - We all know about the harm Yazoo clay can do to a house, but it can also wreak havoc on an airport runway. That's why $14.3 million dollars is being spent to rebuild the east runway at Jackson-Evers International Airport.
The runway is 8,500 feet long and 150 feet wide. A so-called hump in the runway,caused by Yazoo clay, is 500 feet long and 150 feet wide. The clay had to be removed down to a depth of 8 feet in the subsurface to rebuild the pavement structure to eliminate the problem. The project will go on around the clock to finish it in 210 days.
Dirk Vanderleest is the executive director of the Jackson Airport Authority.
"The runway is showing its age and about every 20 years we go out there and rehabilitate it, for the future, so hopefully this will maintain it for another 30 to 40. ‘Are you digging out the Yazoo clay, is that what you are doing?' Yeah, we have an area that's called a.k.a. the hump, and we are digging down to a point where we will stabilize the soils."
The almost $14.3 million dollar contract is being paid for with federal funds.
"It's all AIP, airport improvement. We have got a little PFC, passenger facility charge money on that. It's matching $14.2 million construction and there is about a million to engineering and administrative," said Vanderleest.
The project also involves the installation of a drainage system on both sides of the runway.
When the rehabilitation of the runway is complete by Christmas, it will be capable of handling any airplane flying in the world today and there will no longer be a problem with Yazoo clay.
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