HENRY CO., Va. -

There's more noise from heavy machinery than jet engines these days at the Blue Ridge Airport. Airport Manager Jason Davis tells me that's expected considering the size and demand from its latest project.

"A runway extension, a wider and bigger ramp area, a new terminal building," Davis listed.

Blueprints lay out the plans for a several year, and what's projected to be a multimillion dollar expansion that includes remapping roads.

"This is an obstruction removal project. That's the technical term for cutting down a lot of trees," Davis said. "We are getting out of the tree business. We are removing all the trees outside the fence on property the airport owns."

That equals about 130 acres full of trees the airport plans to have removed. A logging company then removes all traces of trees and turns it into an open field.

Logging companies plan to be here for a while. Removing thousands of trees opens up the skies allowing pilots to see the runway clearer.

The airport is expanding because leaders say the area around it is growing. Davis says company leaders and vacationers come from around the world to visit.

"We have an obligation to them to grow and expand and be able to meet their needs," Davis said.
Neighbors say the biggest nuisance is the smoke. What logging companies can't use from the trees is then burned on site. Davis says the smoke should clear, and burning should stop, in January.