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Airport project moving forward with December completion

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — The Auburn University Regional Airport is still on schedule to be completed before the end of the year.

Airport director William Hutto told the Opelika-Auburn News that the new $4.3 million runway is schedule for December completion. The four-phase project began in June with the demolition of the old terminal building.

The new taxiway will be capable of handling 75,000 pounds (34019.4 kilograms). The existing taxiway is too close to the runway and is not stressed to handle the weight of aircraft at the airport.

“It’s really dramatic change than what it used to be, even for those of us who knew it was coming,” Hutto said of the project area landscape.

Hutto says the taxiway project is 90 percent funded by the Federal Aviation Administration. The state is funding 5 percent, while the remaining 5 percent is consistent of equal contributions from the airport’s three local partners.

The old terminal building was built in 1950. It’s a one-story facility with an upper deck on the second level.

Garver consultant Ryan Reed says the airport is anticipated to close for an entire day during phase two. It will also be closed for a period of 15 to 30 days during the phase. The bulk of the work is done during the first phase.

Reed said runway 18-36 will be closed for about 30 days in the final phase of the project.

The airport lost about 30 tie-down spaces with the relocation of the taxiway, which is a temporary challenge in operations.

“This, of course, was planned,” Hutto explained. “Our master plan anticipates the construction of more ramp space around the terminal on the east side of the airport, which will be very helpful.”

The airport will soon be accepting bids for a runway overlay project to improve the surface quality. Bids will be opened Aug. 29.

Hutto said football season will be challenging for airport traffic between the lost ramp space and airport closures. An expert team is preparing to handle the upcoming season.

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