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Airport re-opening delayed

COVINGTON -- The re-opening of the Covington Municipal Airport has been delayed for at least the fourth time. The new date set for the re-opening is Tuesday according to Transportation Manager Billy Skinner.

"The weather has not been cooperating at all," Skinner said, noting that the opening has been delayed by two months. The first opening date was set for Nov. 20, followed by Dec. 11, then Dec. 18, he said.

Lots of rain and cold temperatures have been to blame, he said.

The runway has been closed since mid-September for an improvement project.

The project includes rehabilitation of 4,200 feet of runway and an apron, along with relocation of the fuel farm and some grading and paving on the southeast end of the runway. Skinner said the runway paving and most of the striping has been completed. The temperatures have not been warm enough as of late to complete paving on the tarmac, he said.

"We want to get it open as soon as possible but we have to consider safety," he said, adding that loose gravel could get sucked into a plane's engine and create a hazard.

The cost for the project totals more than $5.4 million, with approximately $2 million to be reimbursed by the Federal Aviation Administration and $2.5 million by the Georgia Department of Transportation, leaving the local contribution at about $884,000.