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Report outlining airport’s expansion, needed improvements expected soon

City officials expect to soon receive a feasibility report and recommendations for improving the Vicksburg Municipal Airport to become part of a multi-mobile system for the area.

“We should receive the report the first week of November,” said South Ward Alderman Alex Monsour, who is heading the project to improve the airport.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen in October 2019 hired Barge Design Solutions of Nashville, Tenn., to survey and design needed upgrades to the airport on U.S. 61 South that was activated in 1950.

In May, the board approved a $215,811 work authorization order with Barge to study and design a proposed massive upgrade to the Vicksburg Municipal Airport.

The Federal Aviation Administration is providing the money for the study and design work through a grant.

When the work order was approved, Monsour said the upgrades would include acquiring additional land to expand the runway, constructing and upgrading buildings at the airport, constructing additional hangars, and improving the taxiways and service lane, among other things.

The report is expected to provide information on what work is necessary and feasible.

“I expect it to be a good report,” Monsour said.

Barge Design project engineer Keafur Grimes said engineers for Woolpert, a consulting firm used by Barge Design to gather data about the airport surveyed the area from the air and entered the information from the survey into the Federal Aviation Administration’s geographic information system.

“That’s one of the first steps and that was done in August and September,” he said.

Grimes said engineers for the consultant flew around the airport and the surrounding area gathering the data and processing it through the FAA’s geographic information system.

Woolpert’s engineers, he said, “Flew all the (approach) patterns. They took all the measurements and got information on all the vegetation in the area” and provided the information to the FAA.

“Once the FAA accepted the information they (Woolpert) were able to download all the maps and sent those to us so we could start working on the plans for the city,” Grimes said.

He said the information was also included in the FAA’s National Air Space System.

The National Air Space System, Grimes said, is the national data system containing information on obstructions at airports across the county. It allows pilots flying into an airport to have information on obstructions and their locations as they approach landing.

He said the FAA requires that any time work affects the runway of an airport it has to be tied into the National Air Space System. The survey, he said, will develop the information on the airport obstructions and will be placed in the air space system.

“That’s the same information that goes into the cockpits of the airline pilots so they know how high they are approaching the runway,” he said.

The proposed upgrades are expected to make the airport part of a multi-modal system centered around a proposed new port for Vicksburg or the possible expansion of the existing port.

Becoming multi-modal means Vicksburg will be able to offer multiple transportation sites for business and industry to bring supplies and equipment to the area and make Vicksburg and Warren County more inviting to companies that will supply materials to the Continental Tire facility near Clinton.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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