How do you build a new runway on a single-runway airfield? Because AVL is a single runway airport, the possibility of closing the airfield for construction is not practical – we would be unable to operate as an airport, which would impact the airport and the region in very negative ways. Instead, a creative approach has been developed by the airport and the FAA — four construction phases over a five-year time-frame.
- PHASE ONE 2014 – 2015 — Site Prep for a temporary runway/west-side taxiway — NOW COMPLETE
- In order to construct a new runway, a temporary runway needs to be in place before the existing runway is demolished and rebuilt. A temporary runway, by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) definition, can be used for a temporary period of time. Therefore, AVL is first constructing a taxiway on the west side of the airfield that will be used as a runway for two years while the permanent runway is being constructed. When the new runway is opened, the taxiway/temporary runway will then will be converted to a permanent west-side taxiway.
- PHASE TWO — Paving and electrical for the temporary runway/west-side taxiway — NOW COMPLETE
- The site is now ready for pavement and the installation of the airfield lighting. This phase of the project will take about one year. Some of the work will take place at night, which will create a need to close the airfield in overnight hours at times.
- PHASE THREE — Demolition of the current runway and site prep for the new runway — NOW COMPLETE
- Once the temporary runway is operating, the major work of demolishing the current runway will begin. Maintaining the highest level of safety, both for air passengers and those working on the airfield, is the top priority; therefore, much of this work will occur in overnight hours. Once the runway is removed, the major work of preparing the site for the new runway will commence.
- PHASE FOUR — Paving and electrical for the new runway - NOW UNDERWAY
- Finally, the last phase of the project will involve the paving work and installation of airfield lighting for the new runway. The new west-side taxiway (which has been operating as the temporary runway) will be linked to the new runway.
- The new runway is expected to open in 2020. The temporary runway's conversion to a taxiway will also occur in 2020.