Maintenance on Chilton County airport runway causes closure

Published 5:11 pm Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The runway at the Chilton County Airport will be closed Oct. 15-Nov. 16 for maintenance to replace a drainage pipe.

Chilton County Airport Authority board member Billy Singleton said the maintenance is part of a widespread project that will last until fall of 2013.

“The first step in our project includes replacing a drainage pipe located underneath the runway,” Singleton said. “We estimate the pipe is about 50 years old and we needed to upgrade it.”

Singleton said after discussing the project with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), they agreed to fund 95 percent of the project.

“The FAA was very interested in improving our airport due to the central location between Birmingham and Montgomery,” Singleton said. “We are also close to the central part of the state so the airport was designated high priority for the state to develop.”

Although the current project to replace the drainage pipe is slated to span a little over a month, Singleton does not believe it will last more than 2-3 weeks.

“Our focus is to get the runway work done first so we can begin working on other projects,” Singleton said. “There was a potential for structural failure of the pipe underground if we didn’t fix it.”

Part of the overall project will include resurfacing the runway, upgrading the lighting systems, extending the airport’s runway 1,000 feet to the west as well as a parallel taxiway and several other projects.

Singleton said it is estimated the total amount for all of the projects will be $1.5 million.

The seven-member airport authority board approved the projects earlier this year for the airport, which has more than 100 operations a week and 5-10 flights daily.

“We want to be able to create a safe and accessible airport for Chilton County,” Singleton said.