Airport will build extended runway

By Michelle Landrum

A runway extension is planned for DeKalb’s airport as part of a major improvement program designed to upgrade safety and increase the airport’s usage.

Ron Naylor, director of DeKalb’s Public Works Office, said the renovation of DeKalb’s Taylor Municipal Airport, 2100 E. Pleasant Street, will begin within the next two weeks.

The runway will be lengthened 658 feet to the east to create an entire runway length of 4,200 feet, which will allow planes greater safety when taking off and landing, said Rod Carey, airport manager and president of R&M Aviation.

Construction on the east/west runway is expected to last 90 days, during which 2,800 feet of the runway will be open for use. A one-day full closure of the site is planned so construction workers can relocate the threshold markings that will be used while the runway is shortened, Carey said.

The airport handles 30,000 to 35,000 operations each year, which are defined as either a takeoff or a landing, Naylor said.

Currently, the airport is “not that busy. One of the reasons is due to the runway length,” Carey said.

The airport is capable of facilitating small jets during the winter months, but not during the summer because of inadequate runway length, he said.

Naylor said the airport receives small to medium-sized business and recreational flights. “There’s a good mix of all types of users,” he said.

Most of the funding for the runway reconstruction will come from the Airport Improvement Trust Fund, Naylor said. The fund is a federal program which pays for 95 percent of airport construction costs through an 8 percent tax on plane tickets, he said.

Naylor said the state and city will pick up the remaining costs, each paying 5 percent of the bill.

The total cost of the project is estimated at $460,000, and the construction alone will cost about $352,000, Naylor said.

Rockford Blacktop Construction was awarded the construction contract, he said.