Friday, January 27, 2017

Keystone Drive cleared of debris from March 2015 Yeager Airport (KCRW) safety overrun collapse

Workers use heavy equipment to clear landslide debris from Keystone Drive in this file photo from late 2016.

Blocked to through traffic for 22 months after it was buried under some of the 540,000 cubic yards of earth and rock that sheared free from a 270-foot-high engineered fill structure supporting Yeager Airport’s safety overrun area, Keystone Drive is now cleared and awaiting action by the state Division of Highways to reopen.

Terry Sayre, executive director of the Charleston airport, told members of its governing board on Wednesday that the DOH has surveyed the recently cleared roadway, a unit of the state highway system, and has installed new drainage culverts under its surface as well as beneath a nearby parking lot that served Keystone Apostolic Church, demolished by the March 9, 2015 landslide.

Yeager Airport has spent about $4.1 million to clear debris from the slide, and about $500,000 more will be spent to remove the haul road on airport property used to dispose of most of the material involved in the collapse. About 9,000 cubic yards of material will be removed to take up the haul road, which connected the base of the landslide with a disposal site on airport property.

“With two or three days of freezing temperatures or no rain, those 9,000 cubic yards should be gone,” Sayre said. Funding to pay for repairing and reopening the roadway is in hand, he said, since “the DOH has a FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) grant to gravel and pave Keystone Drive,” he said.

In other business, the airport board voted to spend $10,000 to sponsor and promote the final event in the 2017 Spartan Race Series to the Summit Bechtel Reserve in Fayette County on Aug. 26-27. About 25,000 people are expected to take part in the nationally televised event, which includes races, obstacle courses and other timed athletic challenges.

Yeager Airport is partnering with the Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau, the state Division of Tourism and National Travel to sponsor and promote the event. Buses will be provided to take contestants to and from the Charleston airport to the Boy Scouts’ 10,000-acre high adventure camp and National Jamboree site.

Board members voted to increase Sayre’s salary from $131,000 a year to $150,000 annually, which matches the sum former Yeager director Rick Atkinson was paid when he resigned in 2015.

After assuming his role as director a short time after the safety overrun collapse, “Terry has more than risen to the occasion,” said Ed Hill, chairman of Yeager’s governing board. “This vote is a strong vote of confidence for [Sayre].”

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