Officials recently gathered at Sussex County Airport in Delaware to break ground on a $3.1 million runway improvement project. Designed and managed by Urban Engineers (Urban), the project will extend the 5,000-foot-long main runway (RW-22) by 500 feet to accommodate larger aircraft and attract new business to the region.
The extension project is the first step in a larger $25 million, multi-phase plan to modernize the airport with a longer runway, redesigned taxiways, and improved lighting. The United States Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration provided 95% of the funding for the extension project with the remaining coming from Sussex County and the State of Delaware. The eventual goal is to extend the main runway another 500 feet, to a full 6,000 feet, by 2017.
In collaboration with Arora Engineers and Landmark JCM, Urban’s integrated project team led the design effort, which included the runway and parallel taxiway extension, stormwater management facilities, runway and taxiway lighting upgrades and relocation, and installation of aircraft navigational aids. Additionally, Urban will manage the runway’s construction, estimated to be completed in June 2013, and the design of an overlay of the entire length of RW-22 to be implemented in a later phase. These assignments resulted from an open-end agreement Urban has had with the airport since 2006.
Constructed in 1943, Sussex County Airport is a general aviation facility popular with pilots of small-engine aircraft and corporate jets and serves as a transportation gateway for numerous businesses and corporations in the county. The complex is a vital economic engine in Sussex County, employing approximately 900 people who work in everything from manufacturing and poultry processing to storage and distribution.