The last time the Ocala International Airport was repaired was 2009. Since then, cracks along the outskirts of the runway have gone through the pavement and the accumulation of rust has caused the runway paint to become discolored.
During the Tuesday city council meeting, council members alongside Mayor Kent Guinn and city manager Sandra Wilson approved to utilize Gee Asphalt Systems, Inc. for the airport’s pavement maintenance.
The Idaho-based construction company and asphalt contractor put forward the lowest bid for the project at $256,596.
Among the five bids were CW Roberts Contracting Inc., a paving contractor based in Wildwood that offered a bid of $469,718.50, and Axtells, Inc., a multinational group specializing in airfield maintenance and airport construction, which offered a bid of $864,037.50.
The Airport Advisory Board, a community group created to keep Ocala officials up to date with issues affecting the airport, also recommended awarding the agreement to Gee Asphalt Systems Inc.
According to Matt Grow, director of Ocala International Airport, the runway maintenance project will fix cracks along the shoulders of the runway and renew the oxidized pavement. It will be completely paid for by the Federal Aviation Administration, he said.
City attorney Robert W. Batsel, Jr. authorized the legality of the deal, confirming there is no funding match requirement from the city or airport.
Grow said the renovations will prolong the lifetime of the runway and enhance airfield safety.
From October 2020 through January 2021, the Ocala airport saw record jet fuel sales. When compared to its three-year average, sales were up by 45.9%. The airport experienced increased traffic after the state lifted COVID-19 restrictions.
Correction appended: A previous version of this story and its headline indicated that the runway maintenance would enable larger and heavier airplanes to land at the Ocala airport. That is not the case, and we regret the error.