Traverse City Record-Eagle
---- — VAN BUREN TOWNSHIP (AP) — Willow Run Airport expects to seek $182 million in changes to its runways and infrastructure throughout the next 10 years as part of an effort to expand its operations, according to recently discussed plans.
The upgrades are seen as being important as the cargo and charter airport is used to help attract developers to the adjacent ex-General Motors Willow Run plant and the Aerotropolis region between Willow Run and Detroit Metropolitan Airport, AnnArbor.com reported.
“Willow Run’s at a crossroads,” said Sean Brosnan, director of the Willow Run Airport.
The first phase of construction has received $18 million from the Federal Aviation Administration to help rebuild the northern half of Willow Run’s main runway. Construction on the $20 million project is to begin in May and last through mid-November.
To completely reconstruct the main runway, an additional $23 million is needed. This year, Willow Run Airport also will be upgrading its precision-aided pilot instrumentation systems on the runway parallel to its main runway to accommodate plane traffic during construction.
Willow Run is in Wayne County’s Van Buren Township, about 25 miles west of Detroit. Brosnan presented the 10-year plan for the airport to an audience that included U.S. Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., as well as key area economic development officials.
“We have here a tremendous potential asset — or a group of assets,” Dingell said.
During the next 10 years, the also airport is planning to add taxiways to make the airport more efficient for planes to use. A runway on the north side of the airport will be reconstructed about three years before it is extended from 7,200 feet to 9,550 feet long, Brosnan said.
“This will allow us to go anywhere in the world with freight,” Brosnan said of the expansion.