June 10, 2020

Kentucky’s Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport (OWB) is one of many airports that accelerated the pace of construction projects during the COVID-19 downturn in air traffic.

The airport had a number of construction projects in progress or scheduled as part of its 10-year master plan when the pandemic started and took the opportunity to tackle the projects at full speed.

Rehabilitation, including concrete repair, replacement of seals and panel joints and re-marking, was completed for the airport’s primary runway, the 8,000-foot Runway 18/36, and portions of Taxiway Charlie in May.

Work on the 5,000-foot crosswind runway, Runway 06/24, has begun and includes similar concrete repair, panel replacement and re-marking. This runway is used primarily by general and business aviation.

The airport is also building a new service road to improve access for rescue and firefighting crews, giving the Daviess County Airport Fire Station direct access to the field, and improving general aviation access to the fuel farm.

The COVID-19-induced lull in traffic has been actually sped up progress on the construction. The recent slowdown in traffic allowed the airport to switch to a 24-hour-a-day work schedule, shortening the Runway 06/24 project by 30 days.

“Our contractor worked nights so the project had minimal effects on all users,” said Rob Barnett, OWB’s airport director. “We quickly moved from one project to the next and the engineers worked hard to time projects while activity was minimal. We were able to capitalize on this opportunity to minimize the burden on military, business and general aviation, and commercial traffic.”

The aggressive approach to these construction projects will benefit airport users and the community for years to come and might be complete just in time: Barnett reports a recent increase in traffic.