City leaders hold firm responsible for finding airport wetlands - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

City leaders hold firm responsible for finding airport wetlands

Posted: Updated:
Sylvester Mayor, Bill Yearta Sylvester Mayor, Bill Yearta

The City of Sylvester is at odds with an engineering firm over who should pay to protect wetlands found at the airport.

That company discovered the wetlands after work on an expansion project had already begun.

City leaders say since the engineers didn't notice this stream at the north end of the runway at Sylvester Municipal Airport during an initial environmental study, that company should be responsible for the extra cost.

Plans to expand the runway at Sylvester Municipal Airport hit a snag.

"We bid the project and got it going now, but actually some others engineers came out, not associated with the city and found some additional wetlands that's causing us a little bit of an issue," said Bill Yearta, Mayor.

Sylvester Mayor Bill Yearta says the engineering company out of Atlanta discovered the wetland area about a month ago.

"We feel like it's their responsibility to hire a soil engineer to mitigate the wetlands for us. And we understand were responsible for the wetland mitigation and what we'll have to pay," said Bill Yearta, Mayor.

Yearta says the area in question is on the north end of the runway. It was part of the original project plan, so he's not sure how the engineers didn't identify the wetlands initially. Right now, the city is in talks with the engineering company for a solution.

"They've not said definitely they will take care of it, but they've actually negotiating with the original soil scientist they dealt with," said Bill Yearta, Mayor.

Yearta says the expanded runway will allow more planes to land.

"We don't think it's going to stop the project by any means. But we want to be good stewards of the taxpayers money," said Bill Yearta, Mayor.

The runway expansion should take about a year to complete.

Mayor Yearta hopes to come to an agreement with the engineering company later this week.

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