Dubois County cuts ribbon on state’s first airport tunnel

Local News

HUNTINGBURG, Ind. (WEHT) — After a decade of work, the Huntingburg Regional Airport revealed the first part of a four-phase expansion plan. The ribbon was cut Monday On Indiana’s first tunnel under a runway.

First steps completed on a project long sought after.

“We’re trying to make improvements to what we do now and that’s to be more efficient, more safe, create that environment for our ag industry to drive and our local business Industry to thrive,” Travis McQueen, airport manager, says.

A vision of the airport authority and the airport.

“This project involves many phases,” Curtis Brown, the project manager explains. “But the first phase being the construction of this beautiful tunnel, and doing about 300,000 yards worth of dirt work in order to bring the runway elevation up.”

County Road 200 was lowered so the tunnel could be built over it, with the eventual goal of aircrafts rolling over it one day.

“Back 15 years ago we sat down with our county commissioners, that was one of the mandates that they had for us was, one of the requirements was, they did not want this road to be closed or looped way around 3 miles additional drive time,” McQueen explains.

A big factor when determining the width and the height of the tunnel, the farmland that surrounds the airport. They needed to make sure it was big enough for farm equipment to get through.

“The farming community is a large aspect of our local economy. Most of our neighbors here at the airport are farmers or producers,” McQueen continues.

Jim Hunsicker explains, The goal stretches beyond the fields, “we’re hoping that with this expansion we will be able to bring in bigger planes, we will be able to attract more private planes to come here to hanger with us.”

Project managers say the tunnel was one of many options. But it was the most cost-effective and convenient for the farming community.

The overall project consists of a $13.1 million expansion that includes lengthening and widening the runway to accommodate larger aircraft.

The FFA is funding 90 percent of the project.

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(This story was originally published on September 14, 2020)

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