Seymour’s Freeman Municipal Airport’s main runway taxied toward federal approval following a $4 million reconstruction project.
Only seeding of grass along both edges of Runway 5/23 remained to be done before Thursday’s inspection by the Federal Aviation Administration, airport board members were told this week.
Although due for a final inspection this week, the runway reopened to traffic Oct. 5, airport manager Don Furlow said. It will remain open this winter.
The airport received a $1.9 million grant for the project, which rebuilt about 3,000 feet of runway. Another 1,500 feet of the runway will be rebuilt next spring in what’s called the project’s second phase.
“We could have started that second phase this fall, but there was no guarantee that the weather would hold out and let them finish it,” Furlow said. “We didn’t want to get the old runway torn up and then the weather turn cold before they could pave it.”
Dave O’Mara Contractors of North Vernon will return late next spring or early summer to complete the last stretch of the runway along with taxiway work, aviation engineer Corey Harper of Butler Firman and Seufert of Indianapolis said Monday night.
Harper said the installation of new lighting along Runway 5/23 also would be done in the spring.
The airport worked on funding the project for about four years as the runway started to show signs of wear and tear that were beyond simple repair.
The rebuilt runway is aimed at making for smoother takeoffs and landings but also at helping the airport see more military and
commercial traffic, which Furlow and Seymour Mayor Craig Luedeman have said could benefit the local economy.
Military traffic is flying into the region with increased activity at Camp Atterbury in Johnson County and Muscatatuck Urban Training Center in Jennings County.
“It’s part of our overall strategy to strengthen the runways and make the airport more attractive to military flights,” Furlow said Tuesday. “We’re especially thinking of the C130s, the military’s larger four-engine transport planes.”
While Runway 5/23 was torn up and rebuilt, pilots used the airport’s secondary runway, Runway 1432.
Since the airport has no control tower, there’s no log of the number of flights in and out, Diane Schepman of the airport office said.
The airport is seeing more business flights in recent years, Schepman said, with a number of those flights attributed to Cummins Inc., with its expansion plans at Seymour Engine Plant, and Aisin USA, with its operations in Seymour and Crothersville.
All content copyright ©2013 The Tribune, a division of Home News Enterprises unless otherwise noted.