GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) – If you are traveling along Interstate 73 near the Piedmont Triad International Airport, you will find the shoulders of the highway closed for a construction project that started on Monday.

And what you will be seeing are the first publicly visible indicators that Boom Supersonic’s manufacturing facility is being built at PTI.

The NC Department of Transportation is closing the shoulders of the interstate in both directions for the next two years as it constructs access roads funded by the state’s development grant for Boom, officials told WGHP.

This map shows the new construction of roads for the Boom property at Piedmont Triad International Airport, which is indicated on the lower right. (NC DOT)

Although the work between Mile Markers 109 and 111 might not directly or routinely interfere with traffic flow, construction vehicles and workers will be in the area until late summer 2024 as they build roads on both sides of the highway and a new overpass to connect them.

Boom, which is based in Denver, in January announced its plans to build a manufacturing facility for its supersonic passenger jet (the Overture) at PTI. 

The company has contracts to deliver the Overture, which is designed to cruise at 60,000 feet and reach a speed of Mach 1.7 (or roughly 1304.36 miles per hour) while flying 100% on “sustainable aviation fuel,” to American and United Airlines by 2029.

Although the actual official groundbreaking for that facility – you know, the politicos-with-golden-spades in ceremony – has not occurred, dirt is being turned for the construction of the factory, PTI Executive Director Kevin Baker told WGHP.

The map showing Boom’s location at PTI and available parcels for development along both sides of I-73. (PTI)

You also may recall that in August, Boom, when entering into a 40-year lease for 61 acres at PTI, was presented an option on an additional 61-acre parcel on what Baker described as “the other side of I-73” (which would be to the north).

“Yes, the roadwork is for Boom, but will also serve other any and all other tenants we might have on that part of the airport,” Baker wrote Monday in an email to WGHP.

A map shared by NC DOT shows that there are no new access ramps on I-73, but there are adjacent roads on both sides of the interstate. These will extend east and west around the jet overpass that was built some years ago to connect the airport property with its large parcel of undeveloped to the north of the highway.

The map shows a newly drawn overpass to the east that an NCDOT spokesperson indicated appeared to be a new connecting overpass for the two “frontage” roads.

This will not be a reduced-speed work zone, but an NC DOT spokesperson said drivers are to “drive safely and be aware.”

State’s funding

The latest conception of the Overture from Boom. (BOOM)

The state, Guilford County and the city of Greensboro all contributed incentive dollars – about $130 million, in round numbers – to inspire Boom to invest $500 million in the next 5 years and hire to 1,761 employees at an average annual salary of at least $68,000. Company officials have said that the workforce could grow to 2,400 at PTI by 2032. Those employment figures don’t include contractors and suppliers that might locate nearby.

The state’s $106.7 million in a Job Development Investment Grant includes the funds to build hangars and to provide the required road improvements. Baker confirmed that those dollars are paying for the work underway along I-73.

“Other ongoing work is the grading of the site for Boom,” Baker said. “The building pad itself is nearly complete, but grading for less schedule-critical areas of the site will continue over the next few months.”

It’s unclear when the formal dedication of the property might take place.
At the August board meeting for PTI, Chair Paul Mengert mentioned the board had received queries from other aerospace companies – Baker later said they were “manufacturing or maintenance organizations – that could join HondaJet, HAECO, FedEx and others at PTI.

The airport has more than 1,000 acres available in several large parcels available, most of it to be served by the roads being constructed this week.

Other Boom news

Boom last week made a few announcements about its business plans, including one that directly affects the manufacturing facility (and maybe an airport-area tenant): a deal with Advanced Integration Technology to be a provider for its assembly line at PTI.

Based on a release from the company, AIT would provide the creation and installation of “custom tooling for the Overture Superfactory.” That includes the assembly of the wings and fuselage and their attachment to each other.

Boom also announced: