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Upgrades celebrated at Tuscaloosa National Airport

Published: Aug. 19, 2021 at 8:36 PM CDT
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - The main runway for the Tuscaloosa’s National Airport is stronger than ever before. Elected officials and business leaders cut a ribbon in celebration of completing upgrades to it in June.

“No one stopped me and said we’ve just got to have a top flight airport because that’s going to possibly help us get into the aerospace industry, increase our cargo loads, create more jobs. That’s going to position us for this new economy,” said Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox.

The runway was constructed over 50 years ago. The city of Tuscaloosa repaved in 1995 and repaired in 2009. Runway improvements include repaving, rebuilding the structure, removing existing asphalt, creating a soil-cement base and placing new asphalt surface material. Additionally, runway end identifier lights have been installed, according to the city in a news release.

Mayor Maddox said the city spent almost $15 million for those improvements so bigger planes carrying more cargo can land here. Most of that money came from federal grants that city was able to win due to increased funding for airport projects through the Elevate Tuscaloosa sales tax increase.

Maddox believes the airport is now in a better position to increase cargo flights and bring commercial flights here.

“Just having this runway repaved and shored up gives them this added benefit of being able to bring more cargo in here. Of course, there may be some existing industry that aren’t currently utilizing our airport that can now,” Danielle Winningham, Executive Director of the Tuscaloosa County Economic Development Authority, told people attending the ribbon cutting.

Future improvements could also include making some runways longer and either renovating the airport’s terminal or building a brand new one.

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