airport file photo

OTTUMWA — Expansion of the main runway at the Ottumwa airport is almost complete, and Airport Manager Chris Cobler expects it will be open and functional by early October.

The project, which began early this year, rebuilt the main runway, extended its length, and will improve drainage and install a new set of landing lights. So far, the main part of the project has been completed. The main runway has been fully paved and extended from 5,885 feet to 6,001 feet, which allows planes of any size to land.

While the airport will not routinely schedule larger aircraft, Cobler said that the runway’s size opens the airport up to larger aircraft in case they need to make an emergency landing.

The taxiways and intersection between the two runways have also been completed. All that remains is some ground leveling and the installation of a new set of landing lights, which Cobler said will take anywhere between two and three weeks to complete.

The construction has put a momentary halt on some of the airport’s business. While smaller aircraft have been able to use the second, shorter runway, the Fly Ottumwa air show has been forced to take a hiatus.

Despite the temporary halt on some of the airport’s traffic, Cobler is excited about the opportunities the runway will bring once completed.

“It’s going to be a huge asset to the airport,” he said.

Jack Langland can be reached at jlangland@ottumwacourier.com.

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