The DuPage Airport is extending its second-longest runway.
Construction on the $3.5 million project, which took five years to receive Federal Aviation Administration approval, began this month and is expected to take four months to complete. The runway will be extended 1343 feet and will span 6350 feet upon completion, making it capable to accommodate the largest corporate jets.
David Bird, executive director of the county airport located in West Chicago, just east of St. Charles, said the lengthened runway will proide the airport with further operational flexibility and added safety.
"This construction project allows us to use our extended secondary runway as a backup when maintenance is being performed on the primary runway," Bird said in a press release. "Upon completion, we will have sufficient runway length so that we can close the primary runway without compromising safety and still provide the ability to accommodate all flight operations."
DuPage Airport authorities said extending the runway will strengthen the airport's capabilities in serving corporate flights and national security operations.DuPage Airport served as a reliever airport tested during the May NATO summit when air traffic at the facility quadrupled in daily volume without any delays. Many flights normally scheduled for O'Hare or Midway airports were diverted to DuPage.
The five year FAA delay is a standard practice. Although the project is locally funded, the FAA requires approval every step of the way, including changes in the airport master plan, public hearings and environmental studies that evaluate noise and other environmental impacts, Bird said.
The construction project employss 33 workers and is fully funded by DuPage Airport Authority revenue.
The construction is not expected to impact flight operations, Bird said.