A runway upgrade at the Crawford County Airport announced in 2021 is still on track, despite the facility being devastated by a tornado March 31.
The tornado didn’t affect this project, airport board Secretary Vicki May told the Daily News.
In December 2021, it was announced the airport would receive $4.9 million in federal grant money through the state’s Rebuild Illinois capital program. The funding would cover most of the price tag for extending a taxiway.
The main east-west runway has only a partial taxiway and pilots landing must turn around and taxi back down the runway on which they just arrived.
“While our airport isn’t super busy, that’s still a safety hazard as you can have planes trying to land and planes trying to taxi at the same time,” May said.
It’s a top priority for Illinois to eliminate safety hazards like this at airports that are small but busy because of industry, hospitals and other users, she explained.
This project is currently in the engineering phase and construction should begin next year.
The airport also received a smaller grant to fund some improved lighting to assist pilots in landing. The system provides a visual cue to let them know if they are landing at the wrong angle or coming in too high or too low.
“It’s especially good for inexperienced pilots or pilots unfamiliar with our airport,” May said.
“By the time these projects kick off we hope to have most of our operation back to relatively normal,” she added.
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