Crews are using heavy equipment to remove the asphalt on the Preston Airport runway Tuesday Aug. 3. The airport is closed for at least 90 days.

PRESTON – The Preston Airport is closed to all services for three months.

The asphalt is being taken off the runway and a new top is being put down. Other safety measures are also being added.

The Preston Airport office is closed during the airports improvements.

County Commissioner Dirk Bowles said when they first applied for the grant from the Federal Aviation Administration, they were only going to fund 90 percent of the cost of the construction.

“Due to COVID they had money and will fund 100 percent of the cost of redoing the runway,” he said. “No city or county funds will be used for redoing the runway.”

The FAA does an extensive study. They count how many fixed wing aircraft touch down on the runway.

Utah State University’s aviation program uses our airport quite a bit and there is a lot more traffic out their than most people think,” the commissioner said.

The only person affected is Craig Biggs who runs a crop-dusting service out of the Preston Airport. He will use a field out in Banida until the construction is complete.

“The whole project was financed $3,648.637 by the Federal Aviation Administration,” said Lynn Garner, a member of the Preston Airport Board. “Besides the new runway, they are installing a new LED lighting system, making the runway longer and other things to make our airport safer.”

The project has been on the Airport Board’s radar for about five years.

“They started working on it last week, and they are moving pretty fast,” Garner said. “They have 90 days to complete it.”

T-O Engineering based in Meridian, ID is the firm heading up the project. They specialize in aviation services and airport improvements. Morgan Driever, the project engineer on site, said the real purpose of what they are doing is to improve the safety of the airport.

We will increase the runaway by 100 feet long and the width will be a total of 60 feet, but we are not changing the fleet size of the airport,” he said. “It will be used for local planes that fly in and out of the airport.”

The last time the runway was resurfaced was 20 to 30  years ago.

“The FAA wanted to upgrade the airport a couple of years ago,” he said. “They have had a few incidents at the end of the runway, so we are increasing the site line distance.”

A lot of the airports in the area need to be modified to meet new guidelines.

The project should wind up in mid to the end of October.

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