LOWNDES COUNTY, Miss. (WTVA) - Work will soon start on the runway at the Golden Triangle Regional Airport thanks to a $242,000 grant from the Federal Aviation Administration.
Paint and rubber will be stripped from the south end of the runway and replaced with a protective coating to seal the asphalt.
"It's primarily for maintenance on the runway," adds Mike Hainsey, executive director GTR Airport. "[This will] help preserve the asphalt and give it a longer life as well as removing rubber and things like that."
Officials say removing rubber is vital, especially since more planes are now flying in and out of the GTR Airport.
One pilot we talked with says that you need to have all markings as visible as possible regardless of weather conditions.
"As a pilot, making sure you see all the white lines and markings is very important," says Matt Dowell, pilot. "Especially during low light times, and so it will just help us as a pilot and for the airport to continue safe operations."
Officials say with the GTR Airport seeing a sizeable increase in not only the amount of planes landing and taking off but also in weight with some of the planes weighing up to 440,000 pounds, that means the maintenance that is done normally every five years will be done sooner rather than later.
"It has accelerated the schedule a little bit," adds Hainsey. "Because [now] we have more traffic which is a great thing."
The airport director says that traffic has almost doubled with more pilots from nearby Columbus Air Force Base landing at the airport.
He says that it is all the more reason to have the rubber removed which greatly reduces the risk for something to go wrong when a plane touches down and applies the brakes.
"By removing that, you will allow for the tires to continue friction on the runway, and when they're coming and landing, it continues their safe operations," added Dowell. "[As well] as safe braking distance."
Crews are expected to start working on the runway sometime in mid to late September.