For the next two weekends Sioux Falls will be fly-over country, as the Sioux Falls Regional Airport shuts down to make repairs.
The project doesn't start till Friday afternoon , but KSFY News got an up close tour of the runway project and gives us a first look at why the shutdown is necessary.
This won't be the first concrete repair project done on the runways at Sioux Falls Regional Airport. But this time the concrete that needs replacing lies where those runways cross.
"The intersection itself is close to 40-year old concrete and it's been well maintained but we want to make the changes, improvements and replace it on our schedule rather than when mother nature dictates it." Said Airport Director Dan Letellier.
Letellier took KSFY out to the runway for a closer look. It's a project that normally would take five to six weeks, Letellier is hoping to have it done in five to six days.
One runway has already been shutdown and prep work has already begun. The closed runway wouldn't normally look the way it does now with crumbled pieces of concrete scattered about. This is what crews have started doing so their repair job this weekend goes as quick as possible.
"We actually started Sunday night doing some concrete removal and breaking that will be taking place overnight for the next 4-5 evenings so we can get a bit of a head start as much as we can before Friday's closure." Said Letellier.
Once the crews start on Friday it will be around the clock work for three days, then back at it again the following weekend. These extended weekends allow crews to work uninterrupted but also keeps the airport open during the busier weekday travel.
While commercial flights will be grounded, Letellier says it won't necessarily be free weekends for airport staff.
"The screeners and a lot of the airlines are taking advantage of this time to do a lot of training, recurrent and technical training that's hard to do throughout a normal work day." Said Letellier.
But it's safe to say these next two weekends will be like none the airport's ever experienced before.
"It'll be quiet, it'll be very quiet." Said Letellier.
Letellier says repairs like this are becoming more common at airports across the country. Several other airport directors are monitoring this project closely to get ideas for their own runway repairs.
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