LEXINGTON, KY -- Blue Grass Airport permanently closed its smaller runway on Friday so it can begin construction on a relocated and realigned replacement, reports the Lexington Herald-Leader in its Saturday edition.
The redesigned runway will no longer intersect with the airport's main 7,000-foot runway, which will remain open during the construction.
The smaller runway is the one from which Comair Flight 5191 mistakenly departed before crashing in August 2006.
The new $27 million runway is expected to be completed in time for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, an event that is expected to bring a much higher number of the private aircraft than the runway normally serves.
Airport board chairman Robert Owens said in a statement that forecasts show that those types of airplanes "will continue to account for over one-half of the total operations at Blue Grass Airport" through 2015.
The airport said earthwork, storm-water infrastructure and removal of the old runway will begin immediately.
Paving is expected to being in spring 2010.
The new runway will be lengthened from 3,500 feet to 4,000 feet to meet planning goals set by the Kentucky Department of Aviation.
Airport spokesman David Wescott recently said that most of the $27 million funding has been received, although the status of $9 million from the federal government is unclear. However, the airport recently floated an $80 million revenue bond, which could cover the costs of the runway until federal funding is allocated.
The relocation of the runway will provide more space for the airport's facilities, including space to add more aircraft parking and to realign the terminal's main access road, reorts the Lexington Herald-Leader.
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