BLUEFIELD — Bids are being sought for contractors ready to work on a local airports beacon tower and beacon mechanism while preparations are being made for work later this year that will further improve the airport’s facilities.
The Mercer County Airport Authority advertised Wednesday in the Bluefield Daily Telegraph
legal notices for contractors to refurbish the Mercer County Airport’s beacon tower and install a new beacon in it. Contractors will be bidding on two separate contracts.
During the night, the beacon tower emits a flashing light the marks the airport’s location, according to Airport Manager Clint Ransom.
“It is a green and white light that rotates on the top of the tower and signifies a land-based airport,” Ransom said. “At night if a pilot’s flying over, he knows that’s the airport, and you can look at your charts and figure out what airport you’re over.”
The beacon helps pilots pick out the airport from all the other lights sparkling across the landscape. This important piece of equipment is about 60 years old and may have had its last refurbishing in the 1980s, he said. Part of the work will involve sandblasting the tower and putting a new fence around it. The second contract will involve replacing the beacon itself; it is about 20 years old.
“It’s a pretty big project,” Ransom stated. The overall project, funded by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), will cost about $100,000. Plans call for opening bids on April 15.
There are also plans to begin work this year on extending an airport ramp to give visiting aircraft better access to the facility’s fuel farm. The airport authority received FAA funding for this improvement in 2020, but it was too late in the building season to start on it, Ransom said.
Ramp space now allows only single-engine airplanes, helicopters and smaller twin-engine aircraft to reach the fuel farm. Bigger aircraft have to be refueled from a tanker truck. Extending the space will create more room for larger twin-engine aircraft and small jets, thus letting them refuel at the airport 24 hours a day, Ransom said.
Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline. com