Removing asbesots-containing substances found during the expansion of the Charleston International Airport would cost approximately $670000 and would delay the expected completion of the project by more than a month to 2015 September, officials said.
Matt McCoy, of Michael Baker Incorporated, said to an airport committee on Monday that the expense will chew into the amount reserved for unanticipated costs during the 2.5-year project. $11.2 million has been set aside for any unexpected costs.
Until now, nearly $1.85M of the emergency fund has been utilized.
Paul Campbell, the Airports Director, said the expense of asbestos removal was a bit more than what he would’ve liked. However, it is substantially less than what it could’ve been, he said.
It was in January that asbestos was discovered. The initial estimation was that it would delay the construction work by 77 days, Campbell said.
Asbestos exposure is linked to fatal conditions like lung cancer and malignant mesothelioma. The hazardous mineral was found in the terminal building’s front wall and behind the outer walls of the Concourse A. The front wall where asbestos was found is now being ripped away and will be replaced using glass for allowing additional light. The other asbestos-containing walls will be the part of an extended 2-story area for housing consolidated security checkpoints as well as administrative offices. Now the terminal building is in the midst of a makeover worth $189 million. Construction was initially set to be finished by 2015 August.
When the cancer-causing mineral was found originally, the areas housing it were contained by the crews. Airport officials said visitors and air travelers weren’t affected ever as the tainted walls were barricaded with provisional walls already and were not in the public areas.
McCoy said they were very optimistic that the material did not cause any harm.
Asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral with many useful and some dangerous properties, was found in a tar-like material used for installing vapor barriers or waterproofing products. It was hidden behind bricked-up walls.
A good part of the asbestos removal has been completed. However, more work is pending as tearing down and renovation begins behind the ticket counters of the airline for making a way to the new 8-line security checkpoint are which is under construction.
Asbestos removal is a tedious as well as expensive process which requires the service of a licensed asbestos abatement contractor.