Airport Runway Construction Underway - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

Airport Runway Construction Underway

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After the first round of flights took off from Billings this morning, the airport shut down to allow for a complete facelift on the main runway. And over the next six weekends, the Billings airport will be closed from Friday morning at 8 AM through Sunday evenings at 6 PM to allow for a complete facelift and other upgrades to the primary runway.

The airport last had its runway replaced back in 1998 and is due for a replacement.

"The rule of thumb on a runway like this, is when it starts to crack and it's near the end of its service life, it's time to redo it before it gets too bad," said Kim Annin, who serves as Billings' manager of construction and engineering and facilities planning.

While they replace the runway, they'll also be adding new lighting and temperature sensors to improve flight operations for the future. Construction crews will also work late into the night each weekend to make sure the project is completed on schedule. Although the temporary shutdown may be a bit of a headache for travelers, it's something officials say eventually has to be done.

"Every airport has to do this," said Annin.

Airport officials said the dry and hot weather typical this time of year is the reason why they chose this particular time for the extensive overhaul. Construction is expected to be completed by mid august and the normal flight schedules during the weekends will resume then.