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Airport lands grants to refurbish 'touchdown zones'

While the news hasn’t been all good recently for Mississippi’s airports, one has landed two separate grants to rework its runways.

The Gulfport-Biloxi Airport Authority has received two grants worth $5.5 million from the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Improvement Program for the reconstruction of the runway touchdown zones at the Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport.

The reconstruction of the concrete touchdown zones at both ends of the main runway is part of a $12 million project to improve the airport for commercial, general aviation and military flights at the Gulfport-Biloxi Airport.

“The touchdown zones are where aircraft make contact with the runway on landing and receive the most wear and tear of any pavement on the airfield,” said executive director Clay Williams in describing the importance of the project.

In addition to the FAA funding, the National Guard Bureau is contributing $6 million toward completion of the $12 million project. Military operations at Gulfport-Biloxi Airport account for 43 percent of landings and take-offs at the airport.

The contracts for construction are expected to be awarded in June. The construction will begin in July and is expected to be complete by the end of 2014.

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