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Runway project to close Columbus airport for 8 days

COLUMBUS, Ind. (AP) – A southern Indiana airport will soon shut down for eight days so that work can be performed on its deteriorating runways, which intersect.

Columbus Municipal Airport will be closed close from Aug. 2 until Aug. 10.

The 9 inches of asphalt where the runways intersect is deteriorating, so it will be replaced by 10 inches of concrete that is expected to last 30 to 40 years, airport Director Brian Payne told The Republic. The project is expected to cost $5.2 million.

Payne said the concrete surface also will make it safer for larger aircraft to take off and land during bad weather.

The airport, which is about 40 miles south of Indianapolis, told its customers about the upcoming repairs months ago, Payne said.

Columbus-based engine maker Cummins Inc. will to have its corporate planes use Indianapolis International Airport during the shutdown, company spokesman Jon Mills said.

“That’s a lighter travel week for us anyway,” Mills said. “We worked with the airport to find a time that would have the least impact.”

A federal grant is paying for 90 percent of the project cost. The remainder is being covered by a $260,000 state grant and a similar amount from airport revenue.

The closure is allowing the airport to open the runways for a community bike ride scheduled for Aug. 8.

Participants will still have to pay a registration fee to be a part of the ride, but members of the public can bike, walk or run along the closed runways for free that day, Payne said.

In-line skates, roller skates and skateboards, however, won’t be allowed on the runways – one that measures 6,400-feet long and the other 5,000 feet.

“The grooving creates marks in the concrete every half-inch, so that’s not conducive to roller blades or skates,” Payne said.