JEFFERSON — The Ashe County Airport will undergo an expensive renovation in 2021, thanks to a grant worth more than $3 million it received from the North Carolina Department of Transportation Tuesday, Nov. 24.
The airport received $3,285,000 in federal apportionment funds for the construction of a partial parallel taxiway and apron modifications to go with it.
According to director Eric Payne, the partial parallel taxiway is a much-needed improvement to the airport.
“Right now when you’re taxiing out to the runway, you’re taxiing on an active runway,” Payne said. “That’s the way it’s always been. The safe operation at an airport is to have an active runway and taxi to the active runway.”
Alongside the taxiway will be an apron expansion, giving more parking around the taxiway. Payne said they are expecting to bid the project in January and begin construction in the Spring. He added the project should not totally impede the airport’s operations, although they will occasionally have to close for a day during the week.
Ashe County Airport was one of five airports in N.C. to receive grants, with the total round of funding topping $6.6 million. The other four grants totaled $3.34 million, with $2.25 million going towards a project at the Dare County Regional Airport in Manteo.
According to the NCDOT, North Carolina’s 72 public airports contribute more than $52 billion to the state’s economy each year, support 307,000 jobs and generate more than $2.2 billion in state and local tax revenue.