Tulsa airport runway overhaul closes main runway

Thursday, October 19th 2006, 4:19 pm
By: News On 6

One of Tulsa's biggest road improvement projects is going on at the airport, where taxiways - the roads used by airplanes - are being extended.

The constructions is on and alongside the main runway at Tulsa International - so the runway is closed.

Even with the working going on around the clock - it will take a full month.

News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan says the pilots view down the main runway of Tulsa's airport shows a big X at ends and construction equipment in the middle.

It's because of a major project to extend two taxiways - one of them to run the length of the backup runway at TIA.

Airports Director Jeff Mulder says, "Our east west runway is not used that often, there wasn't much need for it, but since we're closing our main runway for half a year in 2009, it became a necessity."

The main runway is due for a big overhaul - and the $8 million taxiway project is a step to get ready for that.

Even though most of the actual work is off this main runway, the FAA required it to be closed because they didn't want construction equipment anywhere close while planes were taking off and landing.

Air traffic can still come and go on the shorter runway - and planes use taxiway detours around the construction.

But the planes come in with the wind usually blowing across the runway. It's not much of a problem for bigger aircraft, but people in the plane and on the ground might notice the wobble on a windy day.

There are other changes coming to the airport inside. New restaurants like Starbucks - that will stay open late - are moving in outside the security checkpoint.

The baggage carousels are being updated to work better - and there's a plan to replace the conveyor system for bags so they'll go through it much faster.

"And our timeleine will be to have those completed by next summer in time for the PGA to come to town and once the PGA is over, we'll start remodeling the concourses," Mulder says.

The taxiway project along the main runway will take until the end of the month. Then the main runway will reopen.

It was planned for this time of year because planes are more efficient in cooler weather, so it's easier for them to take off on the shorter runway.