Construction work on the west runway at Wichita Eisenhower Airport will begin on March 1. This is part of a three-phase rehabilitation project that began in early March 2020. The project was paused during the winter and is expected to be complete in the fall of 2021.
Keeping an airport’s runways in good condition is always a top priority and often a lengthy undertaking. In 2016 Airport Authority staff began the process of selecting an engineering firm to develop the plans for the runway rehabilitation project. Pearson Construction of Wichita was hired to construct the two-year-long project. The anticipated cost of the project is $22.5 million and is funded by several FAA grants. The Airport Authority will also contribute the matching share.
The most significant part of the project is replacing the center 50 feet of Runway 1L-19R (west runway) from end to end, all 10,301 feet. This center 50 feet, sometimes called the keel section, receives the most abuse from the landings and subsequent taxiing.
Since this is the longest runway, it is the preferred runway on hot days for aircraft loaded with fuel and passengers. Consequently, the work that starts in March is scheduled to be paused in June. Eisenhower Airport is fortunate to have three runways that will enable the airlines to use the remaining two – 1R-19L (east runway) and 14-32 (crosswind runway).
The traveler should not notice much, if any, change to their flights. This project has been coordinated among all parties that include airlines, FAA, contractor, and Airport Authority staff. However, neighborhoods east of the airport will likely notice the increased flight activity.