Airport closed for construction

SULLIVAN COUNTY, Tenn. - The Tri-Cities Regional Airport is shut down this weekend and will be closed again next weekend while crews work to repave runway 5-23.

The airport's Executive Director Patrick Wilson tells us the runway is about 30-years old and airport officials knew the old surface was getting close to the end of its use, so they planned for this project about four years ago, "We worked with the Federal Aviation Administration to secure about $15 million dollars in airport grant funding and have been working since then to plan the project."

Phase one is taking place September 14 and 15. Workers are grinding off 20,000 tons of asphalt in a process called milling. This will make for a smooth, level surface.

"They have specialized equipment to be able to mill or grind off the current asphalt. They want to make sure the layer they have down is going to be the correct elevation for new pavement to go on to," adds Wilson.

Phase two is set for September 21 and 22. It will add two more inches of pavement to the runway.

The airport plans to take a loss of $70,000 when they close down both this and next weekend.

Airport officials tell us this is a $15-million dollar project, funded by grants, and it won't have to be done again for another 25 years.

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