Originally created 06/28/02

Hangar nearly complete after foundation repair



A new hangar to house private jets at Augusta Regional Airport is nearing completion but not without a rocky foundation.

The Augusta Aviation Commission on Thursday approved paying $25,000 for 844 tons of crushed stone brought in during April to help support the 16,000-square-foot building's foundation.

Although engineers took soil samples before work began, workers building the foundation realized the dirt would not compact properly.

"They did test (the soil) before, and they had determined it was marginal," said Dennis Wiehl, a consultant for the airport's engineering firm, The LPA Group of Columbia. "When they actually exposed the dirt and tested it again, they found it couldn't support the foundation."

The oversight delayed construction 26 days. The $1.3 million project, which includes 2,200 square feet of office space, is expected to be completed next month. The hangar sits one foot above grade to assist drainage.

A previous work change cost the airport an extra $21,610. That occurred soon after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks when some aviation commissioners wanted to hold off on construction to see if it was still a financially viable project.

The board later decided to continue with construction.

Once finished, the hangar will be available for temporary housing of transient private planes or basing local aircraft.

Assistant Airport Director Tim Weegar said the hangar's capacity depends on the size of the planes. The largest plane the building can hold is a Canadair Challenge, which has a tail height of about 20 feet and a wingspan of about 64 feet.

Although airport officials are marketing the hangar and office space, no space has been leased yet.

Reach Vicky Eckenrode at (706) 823-3227 or vicky.eckenrode@augustachronicle.com.