The effort to construct a $1.5 million parallel taxiway along the 1-mile runway at the Mount Olive Municipal Airport is currently in the planning and design stage.
Officials say just that part of the project carries a price tag of $250,000.
Mount Olive Town Manager Charles Brown said it is still probably about a year-and-a-half before the contract is awarded for the taxiway.
The planning and design stage is so expensive because when federal money is used, and soils are disturbed, environmental studies and cultural resources studies are required, he said.
A major focus in the planning and design stage is to make sure the project does not cause problems with any endangered wildlife, he said. It also aims to insure that any ancient burial grounds and things of that nature are undisturbed.
Overall, the town manager said it is a major safety issue project.
“You don’t want to be back taxiing on an active runway with planes landing and taking off,” Brown said.
The project is listed at the top of current needs at the local airport.