W.K. Kellogg Airport runway rehab near completion
The city expects substantial completion this week of a project to rehabilitate the 10,004-foot 5L/23R runway at W.K. Kellogg Airport.
The runway’s porous friction course, or the top layer of asphalt, has reached the end of its useful life, prompting the project, which should maintain the runway for the next 10 to 15 years. It last saw this type of maintenance in 1998.
The runway can be seen in an aerial photo as early as 1936, but airport staff believe it probably was established prior to that time. In 1981 the runway was extended from approximately 7,000 feet to its current 10,004 feet.
A variety of aircraft use this runway, from small business jets, to large military cargo aircraft, to high-performance fighter jets.
“This project is critical to meeting the operational and safety needs of our existing tenant base,” said Transportation Director Larry Bowron. “It also keeps the airport strongly positioned for growth in a way that very few other Michigan airports are capable of.”
The project involves milling approximately four inches of the existing PFC asphalt, repairing cracks, and replacing the asphalt. It also includes new runway markings and grooves. The grooves help with drainage when it rains, or when snow and ice melt during the winter months. This helps with aircraft braking and control.
The total cost of the project is $6,056,000. The Federal Aviation Administration Airport Improvement Program has provided $4.875 million; the Michigan Department of Transportation Office of Aeronautics has provided $270,833; and the city funded the remaining cost, $910,167.
The project was divided into three phases to reduce the amount of time the entire runway was closed, with 3,000 feet on each end receiving maintenance in the first two phases, and ending with the center, 4,000-foot portion. The final phase resulted in a full runway closure, ending the project.