After being closed for three months, the Sumner County Regional Airport has reopened following the completion of the largest project in its more than 50-year history.
The airport, located at 1475 Airport Road in Gallatin, had been closed from March 2 until May 30 while crews worked on the more than $6 million project to reconstruct the runway and move the parallel taxiway in order to comply with FAA safety regulations.
State and local officials along with pilots and community members gathered at the airport on Saturday, June 20, to mark the reopening.
“I’m excited about our airport’s grand reopening and the many opportunities that it will provide Sumner County,” Sumner County Executive Anthony Holt said. “With Beretta here in Gallatin, Unipres expanding in Portland and more and more industry coming to Sumner County and the midstate, we can now better accommodate their needs with the expansion.”
Both the airport’s runway and taxiway remain at 6,300 feet in length following the reconstruction project, which also included new LED airfield lighting and precision approach path lighting.
The project, expected to cost nearly $6.3 million, was paid for with $3.5 million in federal funding, $2.54 million in state funding and $300,000 in local funds. The scope of work is the largest to take place at the airport since it was built in 1962.
“Now we have the critical infrastructure out there done,” Sumner County Regional Airport manager Harold Van Leeuwen said. “We’re good for 25 to 30 years in servicing any plane that is going to want to come here during that period of time.”
Operated by the Sumner County Regional Airport Authority, the airport has 12 corporate hangars, 23 port-a-ports and 40 T-hangars with between 70 and 100 aircraft based at the site. The fixed-base operator is GTO Aviation.
Airport officials also are planning for an expansion of the facility that will be possible following the completion of an Airport Road relocation and widening project that Tennessee Department of Transportation officials hope could begin as early as this year.
As part of that project, a 1.5-mile portion of Airport Road north of Cairo Road to east of Steam Plant Road will be moved up to 81 feet west of its current location, TDOT spokeswoman Heather Jensen said in April. The road will also be widened from two lanes to three, which includes two travel lanes and a turning lane.
The road’s relocation will allow the airport more room to expand, said Van Leeuwen, who added there are plans to construct upwards of 22 new hangars, a new ramp area and a new terminal.
Once construction starts, TDOT expects the road project to take 18 to 24 months to complete.
“Ideally this project would be let to construction in late summer/early fall,” Jensen said. “However, there are land transfers associated with this project that must be approved by the FAA. The letting date will be dependent upon that clearance.”