JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) — After more than a decade of construction, work is finally complete on improvements at the Jackson County Airport.
Fresh pavement on the main runway of the airport means pilots can finally take off and land with ease.
“It now has 1,000 feet of safety area at each end to accommodate an aircraft that runs off the runway for an emergency situation,” said Jackson County Airport Manager Kent Maurer.
Work finally wrapped up on the new runway this fall after 15 years of planning.
More than $50 million was spent on the project, with the county paying roughly $8 million and the rest coming from grants.
Maurer says the improvements bring them up to federal standards.
“The risk would have been an FAA-mandated shortened landing distance declared. That means that almost no corporate aircraft would be coming and going on that runway. So really it has an economic benefit, in addition to the safety benefit,” Maurer said.
The airport manager says having a safe and functional airport is very important for the economic health of the Jackson community.
It’s estimated the airport brings in around $19 million a year in business to the area.
“We have 105 based aircraft here. Most are privately owned, some are corporate. Consumers Energy comes in here. They’ve been waiting for this runway to be done so they can start coming back in. Michigan International Speedway’s NASCAR traffic can come back in now,” Maurer said.
Looking back at years of hard work, Maurer is proud they’ve built a new runway that will serve them for decades.
“And because of the coordination and the cooperative effort it was done safely, and it was done within the budget allotted for it,” Maurer said.