EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - Stricter FAA runway safety rules are now requiring airports to take a second look at the amount of space they have surrounding their runway, known as a safety zone.
Just in case a plane veers off the runway, there must be 250 feet on either side of the runway, as well as 1,000 feet beyond the edge of the runway...something Evansille Regional already has.
However, the southwest end of their main runway intersects with a second runway. The solution is to separate the two.
"Sliding the runway to the northeast is the preferred solution at this time," said Assistant Airport Manager Gene Olson.
Olson says the FAA has been lenient in the past, but eventually, Evansville Regional will have to remove over 2,000 feet of pavement from that intersected are of the runway and add it on to the northeast end.
That's where things get tricky. If the runway extension was built now, it would lay right over a stretch of Oak Hill Road and part of a railroad. As a result, a section of Oak Hill Road will have to be relocated.
"We have to figure out how to reroute Oak Hill road, reroute the railroad in a way that's compatible with what's already out there," said Olson.
That section of Oak Hill Road is what connects Millersberg Road to Highway 57. Money from the FAA will pay for the eventual construction.
"After the relocation, we will have a clean runway and get full use out of it , end to end," said Olson.
Evansille Regional is hoping to hear the community's input into these changes. That informational meeting will be held this Wednesday evening from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Marriott on U.S. 41. It is an open house format, so the public can stop by anytime.
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