The Wilkes County commissioners unanimously approved a $1.32 million bid for work designed to enhance fire protection at the Wilkes County Airport airport during their April 20 meeting.

Jefferson-based Carolina Grading & Utilities Inc. submitted the winning bid for installing a 125,000-gallon water storage tank and a booster pump station.

The other two bids were $1.33 million from Frizzell Construction Co. Bristol, Tenn., and $1.78 million from Jimmy R. Lynch & Sons Inc. of Pilot Mountain.

The commissioners also unanimously approved a contract with Charlotte-based W.K. Dickson Co. for construction administration and observation and geo-technical testing for the project. Under the contract, W.K. Dickson is being paid $159,400.

Eddie Settle, chairman of the commissioners, said the work will further enhance the airport as a tool for economic development.

The $1.32 million and $159,400 are being funded with sales tax revenue that exceeded what was budgeted for this fiscal year, said County Manager John Yates.

The county commissioners unanimously approved a budget amendment that included $1.5 million for the work at their April 20 meeting. No grant funds are being used.

Yates said the water storage tank and a booster pump station are needed to increase pressure and water capacity for fire protection. He said the new tank will be built near the current tank.

Jimmy Luther of W.K. Dickson said the project is expected to take nine months to complete.

Luther cited concerns about delays in delivery of materials, as well as material costs.

W.K. Dickson has provided most of the engineering services for Wilkes airport projects in recent years.

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