Open houses to precede Tweed New Haven runway work

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Aug. 26--NEW HAVEN -- Tweed New Haven Regional Airport is about to begin a $6.05 million, largely federally-funded runway resurfacing project. But before that happens, airport officials have invited neighbors over today to find out about it and ask questions they might have.

Open houses to discuss the project will take place today from 9 to 11 a.m. and from 5 to 7 p.m.

Both sessions will take place in the airport Administration Building, located beyond the main terminal. People attending are asked to park in the short-term parking lot in front of the main terminal. Parking is free.

Work on the runway paving project is set to begin as the controversial $30 million project to construct 1,000-foot, unpaved runway safety areas at the north and south ends of Tweed's 5,600-foot main runway and extend the taxiway alongside the runway is virtually complete, said Timothy Larson, executive director of the Tweed New Haven Airport Authority.

The resurfacing, to begin as early as Sunday, will be the first wholesale repaving of the main runway in about 40 years, Larson said. It is expected to take 120 days, with 40 days of that to work on the runway itself.

The work on Sunday will simply be to pave a test strip on a taxiway to ensure the material meets specifications.

The repaving of the runway, which must be timed not to disrupt air traffic, will be in 600-foot sections and will occur overnight. Workers will mill and then repave 600 feet each night, paving each section the same night it is milled, Larson said.

After the complete runway is repaved, workers then will lay a new 2-inch layer of asphalt on top of the entire length of it, working at a pace of about 1,000 feet per night.

The new runway surface will continue to cure for 30 days, but will be usable during that time.

After the new surface cures, workers will return to paint necessary markings on it and cut grooves in it for drainage.

U.S. Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro, D-3, recently announced a $1.58 million federal grant that represents part of the funds for the project.

"Tweed New Haven Airport is one of the top regional airports in the country, and this grant, combined with other aid already received from state and federal sources, will help it to remain so," DeLauro said at the time.

Neither the runway safety areas nor construction of the taxiway nor the resurfacing change the footprint of the main runway, Larson said.

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