Meridian Regional Airport will not offer commercial flights this week because the airport’s main runway is being rehabilitated.
From 5 p.m. Monday until 6 a.m. on Aug. 24, the main runway will be closed as workers install a new asphalt surface, according to Meridian Airport Authority President Tom Williams.
Williams said the current runway, the longest public runway in Mississippi, has reached its 20 year lifespan. The runway was last rehabilitated in 1999-2000, he said.
“It’s due to be repaved or, in FAA words, rehabilitated,” he said.
The project, which is funded by the Federal Aviation Administration and the Air National Guard, is costing about $4.9 million.
Williams said the last time the runway was repaved, the work was completed overnight, which allowed the airport to be open during the day. However, that process was inefficient, both for the airport and for the contractor.
“We ended up having to close the runway 77 nights in ’99 and 2000,” he said.
This time, the airport hired a contractor that can do all of the work in one week.
The Air National Guard will have to temporarily relocate during the closure. The airport will still service private aircraft and small military aircraft, though, Williams said.
During the project, contractors will install a stress layer of rock under the overlay to prevent pavement cracks and will overlay the runway. At a later date, workers will groove the pavement and place permanent markings on the runway, but those tasks will be completed at night and will not impact commercial flights.
The runway will reopen on Aug. 24, Williams said.