Airport Runway Repave Beings Soon - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

Airport Runway Repave Beings Soon

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BILLINGS -

The Billings Logan International Airport will soon close its doors to all commercial flights, but only on the weekends.

The airport will soon begin construction on the main runway used by commercial service airlines. Beginning the weekend of July 12th, contractors will be milling and repaving the first portion of the airport's runway. It's an over 8 million dollar project and a plan that's taken four years to execute. According to Aviation and Transit Director Tom Binford, construction on the runway will happen during six consecutive weekends in July and August.

"The weekend closure period made the best sense because we have less air freight activity. Then also Saturday is our lowest commercial passenger day, we wanted to try and not impact the business passengers as much as we could," says Binford.

The repaving of the runway comes after a discovery the safety of the landing surface is at risk, says Aviation Department Engineering Manager Kim Annin.

"Its just a good time to do it because we are getting some cracking in it. We don't want to wait too long and have the runway unusable in the middle of winter," says Annin.

Annin says runways usually have a life span of 15 years, and the Billings runway is due for a facelift.

"As it cracks in there you'll get snow and ice and it'll expand and you'll get little pieces of rock called FOD and if FOD gets up in the jet engine its a bad deal because you could blow up that engine. So that's why we take care of these cracks," says Annin.

Workers will load 40,000 tons of material to create asphalt to pave portions of the runway during each weekend.

"Got to give the asphalt time to cool, otherwise it will be too sticky for an airplanes to land on or a big plane to land on," says Annin.

The weekend closures will end August 18th.

"We're going to do our best to get it done on time. And then get it back fully operational for this fall and winter," says Binford.

The project will finish up with a little extra work in late September. In addition to the repaving of the runway, 13 miles of runway lighting electrical cable will be removed and replaced with over 100 runway lights.