Indianapolis Runway Shortened In Name Of Safety

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The FAA and local authorities are spending more than $5 million to tear up 324 feet of runway at Indianapolis International Airport. But both insist the amputation won't affect the utility or safety of the airport, which is undergoing a $1 billion reconstruction. In fact, the jackhammers are being called in for safety reasons. The section of runway in question is at one end of Indy's 7,604-ft. crosswind runway. It's being eliminated because a FedEx hangar blocks controllers' view of that portion of runway from the new 340-foot tall tower. Officials insist the runway shortening has been part of the construction plan all along and is regarded as the most practical solution to the sight-line problem. It's not that Indy is short of runways, however. The airport has main parallel runways of 10,000 and 11,000 feet and the location of the new tower was picked with those massive strips in mind. "The FAA is very safety conscious and absolutely requires that the air traffic controllers in the tower see the surface of the runway to insure that it is clear before aircraft can land," said John Kish, who's running the airport reconstruction project. "Reducing the crosswind runway from 7,600 to 7,300 feet was not felt to be significant by any of the aircraft operators at the airport."