The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local news

October 24, 2012

Preliminary runway extension work begins

ENID, Okla. — Preliminary work on the project to extend the main runway at Enid Woodring Regional Airport has begun, members of Vance Development Authority were told Wednesday.

VDA member and airport manager Dan Ohnesorge briefed the group on the $5.8 million project to lengthen Woodring’s main runway by 8,000 feet.

The runway extension will enable T-38s from Vance Air Force Base, as well as larger civilian jets, to land and take off from Enid’s airport.

Preliminary environmental assessments are ongoing, Ohnesorge said, while a survey of the property involved is complete.

The project will require the city to purchase some 50 acres of land, plus reach agreements with the owners of another 45-50 acres south of the airport, concerning use of the land under the Okla-homa Aircraft Pilot and Passenger Protection Act. The measure, approved and signed in law in 2010, regulates the use of land in proximity to both public airports and military air installations, in respect to the type and size of structures that may be constructed on that property. The land in question is owned by two people, Ohnesorge said.

Plans are to let and accept bids for the road project next spring, and to break ground next summer, he said. The runway project is expected to be completed in late 2014. The goal is to have it finished by the time Vance’s outside runway is shut down for replacement sometime in 2015.

“This couldn’t be a better project for our protection and enhancement efforts,” said VDA member Mike Cooper. “We are working with them (the Air Force) to do something they need. It will help them reduce their costs and it will help our airport.”

The city already has received $260,000 from Oklahoma Strategic Military Planning Commission to help fund the project, as well as $2.5 million from Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission. Oklahoma Department of Transportation has committed $500,000 for the road relocation project, while the airport will receive $450,000 from the Federal Aviation Administration over the course of the next three years.

Cooper, chairman of the OSMPC, told VDA members he expects the state committee’s total contribution to the runway project to reach between $700,000 and $800,000. Plus, he said he is “confident we will receive more federal dollars. We have a lot of partners in this.”

Cooper also updated the group on the construction of Vance’s new control tower. Work is under way on the $10.7 million project, after several delays due to design changes. Vance’s current tower was completed in 1972.

The new tower, which will be larger and taller than its predecessor, is expected to be completed in 12 to 15 months.

Funding for the tower was approved in 2009 as a congressional add-on. That, Cooper said, was the last defense spending earmark for Oklahoma.

 Besides the runway replacement project, expected to cost around $25.5 million, the next construction planned at Vance is a $17.9 million project to add to and renovate the base’s squadron facilities.

The group also discussed the 2013 Greater Enid Chamber of Commerce trip to Washington, D.C., during which participants meet with Pentagon officials as well as members of the state’s congressional delegation. Next year’s trip will take place April 8-11.

In addition, Steve Barnes, director of Chisholm Trail Expo Center, was welcomed as the VDA’s newest member.

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