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University-Oxford Airport awarded money for runway rehabilitation

The University-Oxford Airport is one of 12 Mississippi airports that will be able to do improvements this year, thanks to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao announced the Department of Transportation will award $7.7 million in airport safety and infrastructure grants to Mississippi airports. The investment into the state is part of a $520.5 million investment in airports across the nation.

“This $520.5 million in federal support to airports across the country will help keep our nation’s airports in good shape and make air travel a better experience for passengers,” Chao said in a statement.

The UO Airport was awarded $238,500 to go toward a runway rehabilitation project. The money will be used to design the plans for the project. The amount it will cost the airport to actually complete the project is currently unknown.

Once approved, the 5,600-foot runway will have its old asphalt grounded up then be resurfaced with new asphalt and new striping. The airport hopes to begin the project next year, if everything stays on schedule.

“I don’t know when the last time the runway was resurfaced,” said UO Airport manager Mac McManus. “We’ve been looking at it for several years, but it wasn’t a danger to anybody. It wasn’t a threat to aircraft or anything, so we just kind of put it off and have been doing other projects instead. Now, we’ve determined it’s finally time.”

A couple of the connectors adjacent to the runway could be relocated as well, per a request from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The airport has four connectors: Alpha, Bravo, Charlie and Echo. McManus said Bravo and Charlie could be the two that are relocated for safety reasons.

The airport also has plans to replace some of the concrete around the hangars in the near future and rehabilitate some of the concrete on a ramp where plans are parked. Neither project has a definite start date or timetable of completion.

Other Mississippi airports that received portions of the $7.7 million include: Panola County Airport, Monroe County Airport, Brookhaven-Lincoln County Airport, Columbus-Lowndes County Airport, Golden Triangle Regional Airport, Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport, Holly Springs-Marshall County Airport, Hattiesburg-Laurel Regional Airport, New Albany-Union County Airport, Tupelo Regional Airport and Stennis International Airport in Kiln.