Local company awarded airport contract

By Keith Strange Staff Reporter

October 17, 2013

HOLLY SPRINGS — A Mount Airy company has been awarded a multi-million dollar contract to move Holly Springs Church Road in preparation for a long-awaited extension of the runway at the Mount Airy-Surry County Airport.

During its meeting Monday night, the governing body of the airport, the Airport Authority, voted unanimously to award the contract to Smith-Rowe LLC, to relocate the road. Smith-Rowe bid $4,888,743 for the project, according to Authority Chairman John Springthorpe.

Smith-Rowe beat out Pilot Mountain’s Jimmy R. Lynch & Sons, Inc., ($5,345,237); Vecellio & Grogan Inc., of Beckley, W.Va., ($6,243,490); and Burlington’s Triangle Grading & Paving, ($6,432,967), to win the contract.

Springthorpe said that after more than a decade in the planning stages he was pleased to see where the contract ended up.

“I think it’s a good thing that we’re about to finally get the project started, but it’s tremendous to have the award go to a local company,” he said.

The Surry County Board of Commissioners has appropriated $411,000 as a local match for the project against a $5 million investment from the state and federal governments, money which Springthorpe said will help fuel the county’s economy.

“Less than 10 percent of the costs are coming from local taxpayers, but the funds will be coming back into the county to help put people to work and create this new road segment,” he said.

According to Springthorpe, the relocation of the road is part of a larger plan that will extend the airport’s 4,300-foot runway by 1,200 feet, space that is necessary to accommodate larger planes.

“We had identified a need that the runway needs to be larger,” he said, noting that four corporate jets are based at the airport. “At times they can’t use the airport because the runway is too short, and it’s keeping out prospective businesses.”

On hot days, Springthorpe said aircraft aren’t as efficient and require more take-off and landing space.

The project will construct about a mile of new roadway that will “horseshoe” around the extended runway.

“Before the aviation component can even begin we have to move the road,” he said. “But there is a benefit to the road’s users as well, because the road right now is narrow and has drainage problems. With this project we’re going to build a brand new road that’s constructed to current standards.”

Construction of the road is expected to take about 18 months, Springthorpe said.

“At this point we’re waiting on paperwork from the North Carolina Department of Transportation, and we expect it will take about six weeks before Smith-Rowe is given a notice to proceed,” he said. “At that point it will be in their hands.”

The Airport Authority chairman said the project is “a big deal.”

“It’s been a long time coming, and the authority has spent years acquiring property out there for a place to put the road,” he said. “We’ve spent a lot of time with the property owners in the area, and believe this is a step forward that will improve both the highway and the airport.

“This will position us to be more attractive to other companies that may want to come into the community.”

Reach Keith Strange at or 719-1929.