Tulsa Int'l Airport Runway Closed for Taxiway Upgrades

The Tulsa International Airport is using federal grant money to improve traffic flow to the east-west runway. Jeff Mulder, director for Tulsa's airports, said the taxiway, known as Charlie, is being extended about 4,000 feet in order to improve the air traffic when the airport shuts down its long north-south runway in 2009 for a six-month reconstruction. The 10,000-foot north-south runway is Runway 18L/36R. "This traffic flow will be important when we close our long north-south runway," he said.

Extending the taxiway costs about $8 million, he said. However, the city and airport aren't carrying the biggest part of the cost. Mulder said 95 percent of the construction cost is coming from a Federal Aviation Administration grant and about 5 percent from airport funds. The FAA's grant funds come from airline ticket taxes; the airport's funds come from fees and other charges generated at Tulsa International. The monthlong project will be finished by Nov. 1, he said. The construction has had some impact at the airport. Mulder said the taxiway intersects with the long runway, and the construction required the airport to shut the runway down. "Which impacts our airfield activity and requires most of our air traffic to use Runway 8/26," he said. "During the past few weeks, we have had some impact from the weather. " Runway 8/26 is a 7,000-foot-long runway and does not have the instrument approach capability that the long north-south runway has, Mulder said, adding that effects an aircraft's ability to land in low visibility conditions. "There have been approximately three occasions, for an hour duration, when flights were delayed or diverted due to weather over the last few weeks," he said. The airport is also working to improve the baggage carousels as well as install a new conveyor system to move bags more quickly.

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