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Morgantown receives grant dollars for next phase of runway project

MORGANTOWN — Morgantown Municipal Airport Director Jonathon Vrabel said work is ready to commence on the second phase of the airport’s runway extension project.

But first there is a bat to consider — the Indiana bat.

The bats, which each weigh about a quarter of an ounce, have been listed as an endangered species since 1967.

As a result, any construction in and around forested areas and tree clusters are subject to environmental regulations designed to project the miniscule mammal.

“We can now officially set a start date for the contractor to begin that second phase. That will be sometime in November, after Indiana bat season,” Vrabel said.

Morgantown City Council recently voted to accept just over $2.7 million in grant funding from the Federal Aviation Administration for the work.

In July, council approved a $2,374,080 contract with Select Excavating, of Jane Lew, contingent upon receipt of those FAA dollars.

The grant came with a 10% local match requirement, which was funded out of the city’s American Rescue Plan money.

Vrabel said that construction of the foundation for the embankment needed to support the runway extension is underway.

“Phase II is primarily the continuation of Phase I. It’s really excavating the durable rock that we need for the embankment. It will be continuing the building we’re starting in Phase I as well,” he said.

It was previously explained that more than 4 million cubic yards of earth will need to be moved to support the extension. That dirt will come from the future site of a commerce park.

The extension project is expected to take five years to complete, and, Vrabel said, remains on schedule to the this point.

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