Murfreesboro Airport eyes runway extension

Murfreesboro Airport eyes runway extension

BY SCOTT BRODEN • SBRODEN@DNJ.COM • December 16, 2010

A $5.8 million proposal using mostly federal grant money to extend Murfreesboro Airport’s runway from 3,900 feet to 5,000 feet will help meet insurance standards, an official said.

“I think the biggest thing is, we’re enhancing the safety of what’s there,” Murfreesboro Airport Commission Chairman George Huddleston said. “We are not really changing the type of aircraft that’s flying overhead.”
The airport commission and Airport Manager Chad Gehrke will brief the Murfreesboro City Council and the Murfreesboro Planning Commission about the Airport Layout Plan at 5:30 p.m. today at the MTSU Donald McDonald Maintenance Laboratory on the northern end of the airport on Memorial Boulevard.

Gehrke expects to have the project completed at the 230-acre airport by summer 2012 during a four-week stretch that will shut down the airport prior to MTSU aviation students returning for fall classes there.
He hopes federal funding will cover 90 percent of the project, and the airport commission expects to use about $580,000 of its spare funding from a 2007 loan it took out to build 43 T-hangars and 4 box-hangers.

In addition to seeking council approval, the airport commission will seek approval from the Aeronautics Division of the Tennessee Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration.
Another aspect of the process will involve an environmental assessment of the plan that will begin this spring. The airport commission as part of that assessment will invite residents to come to a community meeting to see the layout plans, discuss their concerns with staff members and consultants and speak out at a public hearing.

Gehrke is confident that neighbors will be satisfied with the plans and won’t have to worry about crashes, such as the last one on Dover Street that killed a flight instructor on July 4, 2000.
“Aviation is one of the safest forms of transportation,” said Gehrke, whose airport serves as the base for 135 aircraft, including 30 from MTSU. “Basically, we have around 54,000 operations annually off this runway, which is takeoff and landing. That’s business flights, flight training, medical transport, cargo, etc.”

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