Press

Airport bids come in under budget

October 12, 2010

The construction management company overseeing the new terminal construction at Myrtle Beach International Airport reported this week that bids for the project came in 16 percent below the original budget.

M.B. Kahn Construction said the original budget was $129.8 million. After revision in March the budget dropped to $117.5 million. With all the bids submitted, the cost will actually be approximately $113.7 million.

M.B. Kahn Senior Executive Vice President Rick Ott said there are two main reasons the bids were so low. He said the company broke up a lot of the construction work into small projects so more local contractors would be eligible to do the work. Many of those local contractors won the project bids because they could do the work at lower costs.

The sluggish economy has also driven down the cost of construction materials and motivated contractor to lower their prices.

"We had a lot of contractors that frankly need the work very badly," Ott said. "There is not much work going on in the Grand Strand area. They sharpened their pencils and turned out with some very good numbers."

In addition to being under budget, the lower costs will also allow the airport expansion to include several optional improvements. The new cost estimate includes nicer finishes on the interior of the new terminal, an additional escalator and elevator, and additional renovations to the existing terminal. The lower cost also includes the addition of another gate, bring the total for the new terminal to six gates.

"All of that is very very positive, and to be able to do that at less money than originally anticipated is a tremendous success story that we just started to tell," said Michael La Pier, the new director of Horry County Airports. "It's a wonderful story to tell not only to ourselves and to the people we work with and for, but to the community, the region and to the industry. Airlines like to know where growth is happening and we're going to certainly make sure they know that it's happening here in Myrtle Beach."

La Pier said he hopes the expansion will allow the airport to add flights offered by the current airlines at the airport and possibly add new airlines. He also said a major goal of his is to work with more entities in the community to give the public a better feeling of involvement and ownership in regards to the airport.

Construction work on the new terminal site is expected to begin in December. Ott said the work should be finished by the end of 2012.

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