Cost of adding 1,000′ of runway

I thought that “Morgantown Municipal Airport set to expand runway with FAA funding” contained two extra zeroes:

The Federal Aviation Administration has given final approval for the extension of the Morgantown Airport runway.

Under the plan, the runway will stretch another 1,000 feet from the current 5,199 feet. Currently, the Morgantown Airport runway is one of the shortest in the state.

The project will cost $50 million and take up to 10 years to complete

Surely it would be $5 million and 1 year?

Then I found the city’s page on the project, which estimated a cost of $45 million.

Does a mountain have to be moved? The airnav page for the airport does not show anything like that. It is a bit tough to interpret the official project plan, and the associated nearly 2,000 pages of environmental assessment documents, but the area of work appears to be fairly flat:

16 thoughts on “Cost of adding 1,000′ of runway

  1. While I don’t understand the cost, Google’s terrain view matches my memory when I drove by this summer. They look like they removed the top of mountain and built the airport on that flat land. There is very little flat land in that part of the country. I noticed because it the corporate jet that took off as I was driving on I79 was close to the ground until the ground fell away.

  2. Part of me shares the bogglement and outrage but the other part says: “Well, $50 million over 10 years for a project that will help aviation and hopefully spur some commerce in Morgantown, WV isn’t that awful a sin to countenance.”

    Yeah, it makes no sense. Here’s an idea: have you ever flown into Morgantown? I wonder what general aviation looks like there.

    West Virginia is beautiful but crushingly poor. I tend to forgive them a little easier for doing something constructive, even if it takes 9 years too long and 45 million dollars too much. At least a few hundred or thousand people in Morgantown might conceivably get something worthwhile out of it. It looks as though WVU played a big role in pushing this project, so they have some stake in it, and although I could, I won’t say anything nasty about WVU. This is probably the only place I would feel that way about.

    I wonder if John Denver ever flew there?

  3. This brings back memories. I flew into it in the 80s when the real Piedmont Airlines was still around (what a great airline that was). I remember it being on a mountain top and thinking as a passenger, “Wow. What a short runway.”

  4. West Virginia is no stranger to federal largesse. Senator (and onetime KKK Kleagle) Byrd in his living days made sure his home state received an extra forkful of government pork whenever possible, preferentially one with his name attached. That is what comes from being the senior ranking Democrat on the Rules Committee. No bill goes to the floor without his approval, so you can imagine it was useful to keep the Senator happy. If a $5 million/1 year project could be unwound to take 10 years and cost $50 million, that would be fine with him.

  5. $15 million to add 500 feet to Fitchburg airport, kfit, they are making it 5,001 feet long, turning it a few degrees away from a hill. It’s getting a new approach, hopefully they will be trimming the restricted area that cuts off the instrument approach now and they are removing the “unsafe” crosswind runway. Project should be done next summer.

  6. It’s not “real money” it’s Federal money, so the consultants have managed to tack on as many side/pork projects as possible to enhance employment in the region and in DC. Project managers, environmental and archaeologists will probably inspect every square foot of dirt to ensure there is nothing of historical or environmental significance. And China is able build an entire shopping district in 6 months. Maybe Elon is talking to the wrong country about the hyper loop.

    • Hit rewind. Elon first started talking earnestly in August of 2013 about the Hyperloop being built in California instead of their super-expensive high-speed rail project. It was in the New York Times, featured prominently. This is a blog entry, I’m trying to find the original article, but at least this one includes the video.

      https://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/08/12/elon-musk-unveils-plans-for-hyperloop-high-speed-train/

      “Mr. Musk took swipes at the California High Speed Rail that is being built and headed by the California High-Speed Rail Authority. This train, while real, is not expected to be completed until 2029 and will cost an estimated $68.4 billion to build.

      “When the California ‘high speed’ rail was approved, I was quite disappointed, as I know many others were too,” Mr. Musk wrote, while saying that the Hyperloop would cost $6 billion to build. It is not clear how he arrived at this cost estimate.”

      He wanted to make a splash and literally decimate the cost of the California project. Well, that obviously would mean someone wouldn’t get that estimated $68.4 billion dollars to construct it. That’s a lot of 0s that wouldn’t get spent on contracting and whatever else needed to be bought in California to build the high speed rail project. I have a strong suspicion that became a very serious impasse.

      As I remember, right after that, there was at least one Tesla that spectacularly incinerated itself after hitting a mysterious object in the road (a metal plate, IIRC). He stopped talking about building it in California after that.

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