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Vicksburg ‘moving into the future’ with Barge Design Solutions implementing airport expansion



Photo by MarcusObal - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

On Thursday, Oct. 10, South Ward Alderman Alex Monsour announced what could be an economic game changer for the City of Vicksburg: the expansion of the city’s airport.

The Vicksburg Municipal Airport is located seven miles southwest of the city on U.S. Hwy. 61 and one mile east of the Mississippi River. Today, it serves private and business customers with a 5,000-foot runway, a 2,400 square foot terminal and an aircraft maintenance facility, in addition to providing hangar and storage space.

To accommodate commercial flights, the runway must be extended to 6,500 feet in addition to meeting other Federal Aviation Administration requirements for big jets and consumer air-travel safety. The work of planning and implementing the airport’s expansion now falls to Barge Design Solutions, based in Dothan, Ala.

South Ward Alderman Alex Monsour. (photo from his City of Vicksburg Profile)

The project is in its very early stages, and the city is negotiating with Barge regarding contract specifics. Nonetheless, airport expansion has been on the minds of many Vicksburg residents for decades. Alderman Monsour has been one of its biggest advocates since becoming part of the city’s leadership.

“The one thing I always ‘knew’ about Vicksburg … is that we couldn’t expand the runways,” he said. “Well, that was a fallacy. We know it because I talked with FAA and everyone involved.”

In addition to enhancing prospects for business development in the city and Warren County, a nearby commercial airport is convenient for local people and makes the city more attractive to tourists.  “We want to make Vicksburg, Mississippi a hub, where you can get commuter flights anywhere you want to go,” Monsour said.

In an interview with the Vicksburg Daily News, Monsour talked about the concept of the city becoming “multi -modal” with the addition of a commercial airport.

“When you have all means of transportation, that is what industries look for. They want to know can they get their product in and out of here whether it be from air, rail, highway, river—we got it all,” with an expanded airport, Monsour said.

The alderman also indicated that although the preliminary estimate for the project is about $8 million, most of the funds could come in the form of FAA and other grants. In the best case scenario, the city’s contribution would be a tiny fraction of that, about $8,000.

“Now why wouldn’t we do that?” Monsour asked. “That’s smart business.”

Monsour and Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs Jr. will be on the way to Washington, D.C. soon to ensure the city can secure those grants, he said.

What we know about Barge Design Solutions

The city selected Barge from its response to a Request for Qualifications issued in September. The city’s request stated the type of services required could range from consulting and environmental analysis to planning and straight on through to construction. The city was looking for a company that could take on the project from soup to nuts, in other words, and Barge seems more than capable to fill that bill.

Based on its Statement of Qualifications, Barge has completed similar airport projects in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi. About half of its 64 years in business has included aviation engineering and design services.

“Our dedicated and highly skilled aviation group has served municipal airports of all sizes, providing the Vicksburg Municipal Airport with a well-rounded team that understands the local market, airport operations, and the FAA and [Mississippi Department of Transportation],” the company wrote.

Among the qualifications that surely gave Barge a hand up in the selection process is its naming of Vicksburg resident Keafur Grimes as project manager, reporting directly to the City of Vicksburg. Grimes holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Tennessee State University and has completed graduate studies in the subject at Mississippi State University.

For more information on Barge Design Solutions, visit its website.

“Vicksburg is moving into the future now,” Monsour said. “We’re not holding back any more.”

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