Airport project wrapping up in October

Construction is set to begin on the third and final phase of a $5 million project to realign and lengthen the main runway and rehabilitate a taxiway at Freeman Municipal Airport in Seymour.

That work will be completed by Dave O’Mara Contractor Inc. of North Vernon by mid-October barring weather or other delays and will result in the temporary closure of secondary Runway 14-32.

The good news for pilots, however, is Runway 5-23 will reopen Friday to its new length of 6,000 feet, having been shortened by 1,000 feet on its northeast end and extended 1,500 feet on the southwest end.

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The added length makes the airport more suitable for increased corporate air traffic and improves the intersection between the two runways.

To complement the runway, 1,500 feet of parallel taxiway will be constructed and other taxiway intersection work will be completed.

Runway 14-32 will be closed for about two weeks during Phase III so contractors can tie in the parallel taxiway.

Katie England with BF and S in Indianapolis provided an update to the Seymour Municipal Airport Authority last week.

“Construction is well underway,” England said. “They started Phase II last week and are working toward a substantially complete date by Oct. 15. I think things are going really well.”

The runway shift also was needed to pave the way for construction of the second phase of the Burkart Boulevard south bypass, which will connect Burkart Boulevard on the east side of the city to Airport Road in Freeman Field on the west side.

Funding for the Runway 5-23 realignment and extension project is coming from the Seymour Redevelopment Commission using tax increment finance revenue generated from the city’s TIF districts, not an increase in property taxes.

The project ties in with efforts by Jackson County Industrial Development Corp. and the redevelopment commission to attract and retain business in Seymour and grow the community.

The next project scheduled for the airport is to repair the apron trench drain. The airport recently received a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration for $96,000 to pay for the design work. Construction is estimated to cost $237,500. That project is scheduled to go out for bid in April 2021 with most funding coming from the FAA.

Other projects included in the airport layout plan include the rehabilitation of Runway 14-32, reconstructing the terminal apron, reconstructing the northwest apron and hangar development.