Lake in the Hills begins work on runway improvements

 
 
Updated 7/29/2016 4:05 PM
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  • The runway at Lake in the Hills Airport is getting an overhaul. Work is underway to relocate the taxiway for runway widening from 50 feet to 75 feet to meet federal requirements.

      The runway at Lake in the Hills Airport is getting an overhaul. Work is underway to relocate the taxiway for runway widening from 50 feet to 75 feet to meet federal requirements. John Starks | Staff Photographer

Work on the second phase of Lake in the Hills Airport's multimillion dollar runway improvement project began earlier this week.

Crews have started moving dirt for the relocation of the taxiway and some hangars before the airport's only runway can be expanded to meet federal requirements.

The $2.2 million project includes demolishing the old airport office building -- formerly a cow barn -- where Crystal Lake firefighters conducted live fire training Friday before the building is razed next week.

The project is funded 90 percent through federal revenues with the remainder split evenly between the state and the village, amounting to a little more than a $100,000 local share.

The existing taxiway is too close to the 3,800-foot-long runway and will be moved to where the old airport office now stands, airport manager Michael Peranich said.

"It is going to impact four hangars, which are going to be relocated to the south side of the airport," he added.

Taxiway relocation is expected to be completed by November. A final phase of renovation work will involve widening the runway from 50 feet to 75 feet.

"The Federal Aviation Administration dictated that all airports that have a single runway, the minimum width of that runway should be at least 75 feet," Peranich said.

The airport has a special exemption which allows it to continue to operate as long as officials can show they are working toward securing funding for the project, he added.

As part of the preparation for runway expansion, the village removed underground fuel tanks that were too close to the runway and replaced them with two above ground, 10,000-gallon tanks in October of 2014. That project cost $760,000 of which the village's share was $38,000.

The final phase of the runway expansion project is estimated to cost $5 million -- the village's share is $300,000 -- and expected to be completed in 2022. Officials are saving up for the runway project as the airport's reserve fund doesn't have nearly enough at present, Peranich said.

"It's (funded) entirely from the airport's revenues, which is about $750,000 (yearly) on average," said Peranich, adding the airport's yearly expenditures are around $600,000.

"By 2022, we would have enough money saved up to go ahead with that (project) ... and not be broke," he said.

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