Temporary asphalt used to connect the old and new planned runway was to blame for delays and cancellations of flights at Myrtle Beach International Airport on Monday.
Kirk Lovell, assistant director and spokesman for the airport, said via email Thursday the asphalt that peeled is removed and replaced daily.
“The material that broke loose was the asphalt used to bridge the old and new runway/asphalt together; this asphalt essentially creates a smooth transition, is ‘temporary’ and removed, relocated and replaced each evening/morning,” Lovell wrote in the email. “As a safety precaution, the runway was temporarily closed for approximately 40 to 50 minutes.
“The airport maintenance team was on site to remove the debris, followed by the runway contractor who made the repair as quickly as possible. The ‘temporary’ asphalt was repaired by the contractor prior to the runway reopening at 12:10 p.m.”
The lone runway at the airport was temporarily closed because of the peeled asphalt. The closure, coupled with overcast skies Monday morning, caused hours-long delays for commuters heading to Charlotte. The closure caused two inbound U.S. Airways flights and one outbound flight to be canceled, said Ryan Betcher, business development manager for the airport, who was answering questions about the incident Monday. It delayed a Delta flight from Atlanta by about 2 1/2 hours, according to the airport’s website.
It’s the second closure caused by the runway rehab work in less than a month.
On Oct. 21, an outage of runway lights at the airport was attributed to the near $20 million runway renovation project that started in August. Flights were suspended, and some eventually canceled, after the lights were inoperable for two hours, stranding passengers at airports in Fort Lauderdale and New York.
The runway work continues through March 31. Crews from Ohio-based Anthony Allega Cement Contractor will be working overnight to rehabilitate Myrtle Beach’s lone 9,500 foot runway.
Crews are in the paving portion of the project. The runway is being paved between 10:45 p.m. and 6:45 a.m. during the week and 11:45 p.m. and 5:30 a.m. during the weekend. From November through the end of March, the runway edge lighting system will be replaced, the pavement will be grooved and permanently marked and grass and mulch will be replaced. The rehabilitation has a 20-year life expectancy.
Lovell said there is a clause in the contract that holds the contractor accountable for delays in the overall project, but not for specific incidents like the one Monday or the Oct. 21 outage.
“Within the contract by and between Horry County Department of Airports and the contractor there is a clause that fines either party for not delivering the runway on time,” Lovell wrote. “This clause can be enacted if the contractor turns over the runway past the allotted time or if the airport keeps the runway open past the scheduled close, etc. On-time delivery can be impacted by numerous events; at the end of the construction project the Department of Airports and contractor will review the project.”