Runway expected to close this summer


HUNTINGBURG — Huntingburg Airport’s runway will likely shut down this summer so that it can be lengthened and widened.

The anticipated months for the closure are June, July and August, project engineer Curtis Brown told the Dubois County Airport Authority Monday.

“That’s the current schedule,” Brown said. “The contractor (Weddle Brothers Construction of Evansville) is looking at ways to accelerate the construction schedule. So we’re going to be working through some of that. But for now, June, July and August is the anticipated closure.”

The plan is for there to be one closure so that all the construction work can be done at once, Brown has explained previously.

Work has been done for the last year as preparation for making the runway longer. That includes lowering County Road 200 West, constructing a 180-foot tunnel over the road near the end of the new runway and moving about 270,000 cubic yards of dirt to the end of runway to fill in where the 500-foot extension will be located. Other work for the project includes reconstructing 700 feet of existing runway, and taking care of utility work.

Airport officials have been planning for more than 10 years to make the airport’s runway longer and wider, which will allow 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.

Plus, current airport corporate tenants — Kimball, OFS Brands, Jasper Engines, Best Chairs and MasterBrand — will be able to carry more people, baggage and fuel; that will give them the ability to fly farther, more safely and more economically.

The Federal Aviation Administration is covering 90% of the expansion’s cost; the rest comes from state and local funding.

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