Des Moines airport pursues third runway

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Construction of a new runway at Des Moines international airport should begin in 2010.

Estimated cost of the project is roughly $42 million, an airport spokesman says.

But the city must purchase one residential property and four vacant properties near the airport before ground can be broken on the runway.

Des Moines acquired the seventh of 11 required vacant lots near the airport for roughly $1.4 million in December; it has already purchased 21 residential properties.

The airport has been using FAA funding to purchase the property since it started the endeavor in 2004; the FAA pays 95% and the airport covers the remainder, the airport’s master plan says.

Currently, Des Moines airport is crafting a letter of intent to secure a long-term commitment from the FAA for the remaining properties and new runway.

Airport staff anticipates submitting the letter in March with FAA feedback expected in October, deputy director of operations and maintenance Shawn Arena says in an email.

Eventually the 5,500-foot (1,676m) third runway scheduled for completion in 2012 will be extended to 9,000 feet, the length of the existing runways, the airport’s spokesman says.

Previously the airport operated with three runways, but closed and removed one of its parallel runways in 2001 to lengthen a cross runway by 2,200 feet to accommodate future potential international air cargo.