Newest portion of Ridgeland's Claude Dean Airport breaks ground

RIDGELAND, SC (WTOC) - Officials in Jasper County are celebrating after a decade-long battle to expand the current airport in Ridgeland.

Tuesday, they broke ground for the newest portion of the Claude Dean Airport. Named after the former airport commissioner, the airport was started in 1955, and five years later, its popularity attracted funding from the state to construct a paved and lighted runway. Now, 50 years later, the county will add even more, including a new entrance road, terminal, and a new runway.

The project costs a little more than $20 million - 90 percent of which will be covered by FAA. The county explained why they've been pushing for this expansion.

"There are actually six businesses, aviation-related businesses, on this airport campus right now, so we saw it as a real economic development potential motivator for additional businesses, so we expect that it will do great things for the economy in the area," said Andrew Fulghum, Jasper County Administrator.

The project will be broken into four phases, and the county is hoping to have all of them complete by Spring 2019.

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