Dover-area airpark nears final stage of development program

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Elected officials were on hand for the ceremonial opening of new Runway 9-27 at the Delaware Airpark

The second to last phase of the multi-year project, which was just completed last month, involved wetland mitigation, the paving of new runway, connector taxiways and associated infrastructure.

This development project is the largest civilian airport improvement program in Delaware or the region in more than 40 years.

“On behalf of the Commissioners and staff, we would like to thank our Congressional Delegation and the FAA for their resolve and effort to make this historic infrastructure improvement project a reality,” said Thomas J. Cook, Executive Director for the Delaware River and Bay Authority. “The importance of this new runway system can’t be overstated and it took the cooperation of federal, state and locals leaders who all recognize general aviation’s important role in our region’s economy to get the job done. These improvements are essential for the future of Delaware Airpark, and the critical air access it provides to central Delaware and the greater capital region of our state.”

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The ongoing multi-year project to improve the airport by constructing a new runway, taxiway, and apron system began in 2004. Land acquisition, design, environmental, and construction costs associated with the multi-year project to enhance the airport’s infrastructure totaled more than $33 million. An important first step in making this possible was the state’s acquisition of the former privately owned, public-use airport in 2000.

“This is an exciting day for the Delaware Air Park, Delaware State University aviation students and all others who use this airport,” said Sen. Chris Coons. “I am grateful for the important federal investment from the FAA and the partnership with DRBA that helped complete the runway and taxiway system that will be the home to many safe takeoffs and landings.”

“The unveiling of this project marks the culmination of years of work and partnership between the FAA and the DRBA,” said Congresswoman Blunt Rochester. “The new runway and taxiway system will help accommodate the aviation needs of central Delaware including increasing capacity for important programs such as the Delaware State University Aviation Program. I am proud to be able to unveil this project alongside folks who worked so hard to make it a reality.”

“Our DSU aviation students have already benefited greatly from the improvements at Delaware Airpark, especially the longer runway which helped to mitigate a power line obstacle students have had to overcome in landing and take-off,” said DSU President Harry L. Williams. “As the University continues to produce professional pilots whose proficiencies have resulted in a 100 percent hiring rate, DSU, the Delaware River & Bay Authority, the Delaware Congressional delegation and the federal government can all share in the credit for helping in its success.”

The new system was designed with adequate runway length and apron dimensions to meet current and anticipated future demands of the aviation community. In addition, the facility serves a complementary and relief role for corporate traffic at the Civil Air Terminal at Dover Air Force Base.

In the spring of 2018, the final phase of this project will begin and involves the conversion of the old, runway into a parallel taxiway, construction of the final connector to the new runway and associated infrastructure.

Delaware Airpark is also the base for flight training conducted by Delaware State University for the Air Force ROTC program and other clients such as the Department of Interior and NASA.

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