Rome-Floyd County Planning Director Sue Hiller has filed a Development of Regional Impact notice with the state for the proposed 1,000-foot extension of the main runway at Richard B. Russell Regional Airport.

The documents now being reviewed by the Northwest Georgia Regional Commission indicate the project is expected to be complete by July 1, 2018.

Paperwork filed on behalf of Floyd County indicates the value of the runway extension will be $5.7 million. Funding for the project is coming entirely out of special purpose, local option sales tax funds.

Airport Manager Mike Mathews said engineering and an environmental assessment are expected to take 12-18 months to complete and if no problems are uncovered during those preliminary studies, work could get underway sometime in 2016.

The documents claim the airport is expected to generate additional revenue as a result of an increase in fuel sales at the airport.

An extension of the main runway from 6,000 feet to 7,000 feet is expected to enhance corporate traffic in and out of the airport. Insurance underwriters for many of the corporate aircraft require a 7,000 minimum for safety purposes.

The present runway weight limitation prevents aircraft significantly larger than those currently able to land at the airport.

The extension project is regarded as an economic development project in the SPLOST package since the longer runway could be attractive to bringing aircraft-related industry to the airport.

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