A multi-year project nears completion

Sen. Tom Carper, Sen. Chris Coons and Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester on Nov. 20 joined with Federal Aviation Administration officials and Delaware River and Bay Authority representatives to open the new Runway 9-27 at the Delaware Airpark.

Delaware Airpark serves the general aviation needs of central Delaware and Dover, including the aircraft of Delaware State University’s aviation program. It is the base for flight training conducted by DSU for the Air Force ROTC program and other clients such as the Department of Interior and NASA.

The second to last phase of the multi-year project, completed in October, involved wetland mitigation, the paving of a new runway, connector taxiways and associated infrastructure. This comprehensive development project is the largest and most significant civilian airport improvement program in Delaware or the region in more than 40 years.

The ongoing multi-year project to improve the airport by constructing a new runway, taxiway and apron system began in 2004. Land acquisition, design, environmental, and construction costs associated with this multi-year project to enhance the airport’s infrastructure totaled more than $33 million. An important first step in making this possible was the state’s acquisition of the former privately owned, public-use airport in 2000.

The overall project provides a runway, taxiway and apron system that enhances flight operations and safety for all classes of aviation users. The new system was designed with adequate runway length and apron dimensions to meet current and anticipated future demands of the aviation community.

In addition, the facility serves a complementary and relief role for corporate traffic at the Civil Air Terminal at Dover Air Force Base.

In the spring, the final phase of this project will begin and involves the conversion of an old, existing runway 9-27 into a parallel taxiway, construction of the final connector taxiway to the new runway, and associated infrastructure.