BLOUNTVILLE -- Tri-Cities Regional Airport will be closed once again next weekend for runway resurfacing.
The airport reopened at 9 a.m. this morning after being closed for the repairs since 8 p.m. Friday. No aircraft were able to land or take off from TRI during that time.
The airfield will closing again Friday, Sept. 20, at 8 p.m. to 9 a.m. Monday, Sept. 23.
The $15-million project includes rehabilitating the entire 8,000-by-150-foot Runway 5/23, adding 25-foot paved shoulders to both sides of the runway, replacing the pavement lighting system and adding new drainage systems.
Most of the work has been done at night in four-hour increments for the past three months so as to affect the fewest number of flights and passengers, a news release said.
The work has now progressed to the point that it is necessary to close the runway for a longer period of time.
"We realize that the runway closures are very inconvenient for the traveling public during these two weekends, but it simply can't be avoided," said Patrick Wilson, TRI executive director.
"Fortunately, we shouldn't have to completely resurface the main runway again for another 25 years."
During the closure weekends, more than 20,000 tons of asphalt will be milled and removed, to be replaced with more than 50,000 tons of new asphalt.
Approximately 150-200 people will be on site 24 hours a day for 61 hours.
Summers-Taylor, Inc. is doing the paving and will be working two full paving crews at all times, with the entire truck fleet on standby for backup.
Two asphalt plants located less than a mile from the airport will be providing paving material, with two other plants in Watauga and Greeneville on standby with full plant crews ready.
Eighty-five dump trucks will be operating 24 hours a day to haul out milled material.
The first weekend, there will be five milling machines operating at once as crews mill the runway and lay down a binder surface to bring the runway back to the current height for weekday operations.
Next weekend, the runway will be restriped and an additional two inches of pavement will be put down.
"We'll have a very short time to accomplish a lot of work," Wilson said.
For more information about Tri-Cities Regional Airport, visit http://www.TRIflight.com.