West runway at Huntsville International Airport back open - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

West runway at Huntsville International Airport back open

The west runway at Huntsville International Airport is back open after it underwent major renovations to accommodate a large type of freighter jet. The west runway at Huntsville International Airport is back open after it underwent major renovations to accommodate a large type of freighter jet.
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

The west runway at Huntsville International Airport is back open after it underwent major renovations to accommodate a large type of freighter jet.

The Federal Aviation Administration requires runways to operate Panalpina's 747-8 freighter, which is classified by the airport as "group VI" aircraft. 

Roughly eight to nine of these jets fly in and out of the airport per week, according to airport officials. 

The $27.8-million dollar improvement project took about one year of construction. Huntsville International Airport began planning the project four years ago.

"A larger plane takes longer runways, wider taxiways, wider turning radiuses that we're on now," said Stan Hogan, Huntsville International Airport Director of Capital Improvements.

Improvements on the airfield include expanding the paved shoulders on the runway to 35 feet and expanding the paved shoulders on the taxiways to 40 feet, while widening the full-strength pavement on the west taxiway to 82 feet.

The redesign also freshened the existing asphalt on the runway and upgraded the lighting with LED bulbs.
 
Plans to renovate the east runway are already underway with bidding for the project to begin in August, pending available funding.

The cost of improving the east runway is projected to be about $50 million, according to Hogan. 

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