Keeping an airport in good condition is of no small importance, particularly one that is as integrally linked to an area's economic development as Willow Run Airport
is to Washtenaw County.
"It's a chicken-and-egg thing," says Scott Wintner, public affairs manager for the Wayne County Airport Authority
, which operates Willow Run Airport. "We're counting on the efforts of our economic development partners to prove there is demand for a strong airport, and we also know that that Willow Run needs to be developed to continue those economic development efforts."
To keep that reciprocal relationship moving forward, Willow Run will embark on an approximately $20 million reconstruction of the northern half of its longest runway this year. Though the project will only involve the removal and rebuilding of half the 7,525-foot runway, Wintner explains that the process is far from simple.
"A runway is a lot more complicated than your typical driveway," says Wintner. "If you look at the architectural plans, you'd think you were looking at a mansion. It's a lot more intricate than you'd imagine."
About $18 million of the project will come from a federal government grant, with the remaining ten percent evenly divided between state funding and Willow Run. The southern half of the runway is ready for reconstruction as soon as funding for the $23 million project can be secured.
The runway reconstruction is part of a 10-year, $182 million capital improvement plan that has been in place at Willow Run for some time. Wintner says much of these plans involve improving aging infrastructure, some of which has been in place since the 1940s.
Source: Scott Wintner, Willow Run Airport
Writer: Natalie Burg