Contractor dispute halts runway construction at Jackson-Evers

JACKSON — Mississippi’s busiest airport is down to one usable runway with a $13.3 million construction project at a standstill and eight months behind schedule.

Completion of runway surfacing at Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport was expected in June 2011, but a dispute with the contractor halted the work.

Airport CEO Dirk Vanderleest says the contract with Rifenburg Construction Inc. of Durham, N.C., was terminated and is in arbitration over the quality of asphalt the company was using. Vanderleest says a request for bids is planned in April to complete the job.

Rifenburg attorney Mark Herbert says the airport used quality tests not covered in the contract. He says Rifenburg wanted arbitration so an independent party could determine whether the asphalt met contractual standards.

Airport operations have been limited to one runway.

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