Sunday, October 28, 2012

Hernando County (KBKV), Brooksville, Florida: Airport faces money pits

A sinkhole opened under a runway at the Hernando County Airport in June after Tropical Storm Debby doused the area

 BROOKSVILLE --  Repairing the sinkholes that opened up on the Hernando County Airport taxiway will cost more and take longer to repair than originally anticipated.

Economic Development Manager Mike McHugh said the final cost of the repairs is now estimated to be $566,140.

The original estimate was about $280,000.

McHugh said airport officials expect to be reimbursed some 87.5 percent, or $495,373, from Federal Emergency Management Agency and state emergency management funds.

Airport Manager Don Silvernell said the price tag increased after an engineering firm recommended pressure grouting the sinkholes, which will stabilize the area and firm up the foundation.

Silvernell said the completion date is now moved back to around Christmas.

Until they are fixed, pilots are forced to back taxi to reach the main runway before taking off.

The airport manager said he is upset at the extra cost and delay but he wants the repairs to be done right the first time to avoid repeat sinkholes.

"We want to fix it right," he said.

Silvernell said an engineering company has already filled in the holes with clay and sand, so there are no open voids on the property.

The sinkholes opened in June after Tropical Storm Debby sloshed through Hernando County. The airport voids were among the biggest in the area.

The holes recently have been filled with grout and dirt.

Three of them at the airport are huge and extend from one of the entrances to the Army Air National Guard facility, running southwest and crossing the taxiway and into an infield area.

The taxiway serves as a kind of frontage road that parallels the runway and is used by pilots to access the latter.

One of the biggest sinkholes measured about 12 feet deep and 40 feet across.

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