Work on the runway extension project at Cornelius Moore Field is in its final days, according to Polk County Airport manager Chuck Beavers.
Beavers said they anticipate a mid-May completion date for the government-funded project that will allow the facility to accommodate small private jets.
Residents around the airport are finding their paths a little clearer as well after Airport Loop Road was reopened to traffic Wednesday morning, March 31, after being closed nearly a year and a half to accommodate the heavy machinery used for the construction.
“We’re getting closer to completion,” Beavers said. “Of course, projects like this are always dependent on the weather, but right now we’re scheduled to begin paving in mid-April.”
The project adds 1,000 feet to the existing runway for a total of just over 5,000 feet, as well as an additional 200 feet of space at the end of the runway for planes to utilize in emergency braking situations.
Target dates for the reopening of the road had been pushed back since last year as weather forced crews to wait on the ground to dry before moving the dirt necessary to clear the way for the extension.
“We did have a lot of significant weather delays with rain coming at critical times,” Beavers said. We had a wet spring last year, and when moving this quantity of dirt it has to dry before it can be moved and compacted.”
The project broke ground in June, 2019, with funding from the federal, state and local governments. Polk County contributed $1.25 million in matching funds, while another part of the project repaired cracks in the existing runway.