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Runway Shut Down for $1.35 Million Project - KOAM TV 7

Runway Shut Down for $1.35 Million Project

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PITTSBURG, KANSAS -

5,500 feet sounds like a good-sized runway. That's longer than the length of 15 football fields. 

But, it's not long enough. 

The largest runway at Atkinson Municipal Airport in Pittsburg is closed for the next couple of months while crews complete a $1.35 million expansion.

"We're going to do a 600 foot extension to the North, with a turnaround, and a 600 foot connecting taxiway," Atkinson Municipal Airport manager Bill Pyle said. 

There are several corporate air jets based out of the Pittsburg airport operated by local businesses. The extension will allow those larger aircrafts to use the airport in conditions the runway is currently too small to accommodate. 

"Say if it's wet, or icy, there's not enough stopping distance for them to be able to safely land," Pittsburg Director of Public Works Cameron Alden said. "They wouldn't be able to safely take off either."

Crews are now building up and flattening the top soil where the extension will go before putting on a gravel base, then asphalt.

"As part of this there's also lighting and signage changes that go with the change in the length of the runway," Alden said. 

The airport's secondary runway for smaller aircrafts is still operating. Besides the cost of the expansion, the city expects to lose $15-20,000 month on missed revenue while the runway is shut down. 

"We'll miss out on the jet fuel sales during that period of time," Alden said. "But I think in the long run it's going to be definitely a benefit and a gain for the city as a whole."

"We've got people that come in from all over the United States," Pyle said. "So we're hoping that that will bring in new customers to the airport."

A grant from the FAA will fund 90% of the project, roughly $1.2 million dollars. The city is covering its portion with the same bond that's paying for the expansion to Rouse and the construction near Kansas Crossing.

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