Airport awaits funding for runway extension


HUNTINGBURG — The Dubois County Airport Authority could hear as early as this month if it has gotten $7 million from the Federal Aviation Administration to extend the Huntingburg Airport’s runway.

Project engineer Curtis Brown told the airport authority this week that he expects to get notice from the FAA at the end of this month or early next month.

Brown, of Indianapolis firm Woolpert Inc., told the authority that all the paperwork, which includes bids for the different projects included in the extension, has been submitted to the FAA. Those bids were received in July and early this month.

“We had to have real bids in hand before we could complete the application,” Airport Manager Travis McQueen said.

The project will make the Huntingburg Airport’s runway longer and wider. A longer runway allows planes to carry more weight. When a plane flies out of Huntingburg, it’s usually the fuel, not the passengers or luggage, that gets sacrificed for weight reasons. With less fuel, a plane might need to land more frequently to refuel, a possible burden when executives need to travel quickly.

By extending the runway, the airport becomes more attractive to customers.

Building the extension will include lowering County Road 200 West and constructing a tunnel over the road near the end of the new runway, moving about 270,000 cubic yards of dirt to fill in where the extension will be, and doing paving and electrical work.

The authority has been anticipating for years receiving funding for the extension from the Indiana Department of Transportation and the FAA. The FAA and INDOT set aside in their budgets a total of $7 million for the project, which will cover the majority of the cost.

Once the bids are approved, a grant offer from the FAA and INDOT will be sent to the airport authority. The authority would then accept the grant and accept the bids to enter into a contract with the bidder.

If all approvals go according to plan, the winning contractor could start some work this fall, as its schedule allows, Brown said.

The authority also:

• Heard that its proposed 2020 budget was presented to the Dubois County Council Monday. The proposal reflects the runway grant funding that is anticipated from the FAA, some of which would be spent this year and next year.

• Learned that the Transportation Security Administration will visit the airport Tuesday to conduct its annual inspection of the flight training school.

• Heard that recent airport intern Will Sternberg did a presentation at the Aviation Indiana quarterly meeting in July. He showed and talked about the intern guidebook he developed for the airport, McQueen said.

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