Crystal Airport Project Clears Hurdle
The long-term comprehensive plan for the Crystal Airport passed another milestone. Studies by the Metropolitan Airports Commission and the FAA determined that future plans for the airport do not require an environmental impact study.
That means a plan to lengthen one runway by about 480 feet can go forward. The parallel runway next to it will be eliminated and turned into a taxiway. In what old-style tail-wheel airplane pilots will see as good news, an original proposal to eliminate the grass strip at the airport were changed. Now, the turf runway will be shortened, but not removed. Planes with tail wheels perform better on soft-surface runways than paved ones.
In addition to the runway changes, about 80 trees in the vicinity of Crystal Airport are slated for removal. There’s concern the trees will grow tall enough to be dangerous for airplanes landing and taking off. MAC officials say these changes will make the airport more safe and modern going forward.
“Crystal continues to have steady traffic,” says John Welbes from the Metropolitan Airports Commission. “It’s an important asset for that part of the metro for pilots. This is a plan that modernizes the airfield to a degree. It makes it more safe and a better operation.”
The project goes out for bid in the spring of 2020 with construction slated to start by summer. MAC says work could stretch into 2021.