Runway resurfacing causes passenger headaches

Posted by Cody Holyoke - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Redland resident Tom Cole thought he would make it home last Friday.

"That 9:45 flight was the only option that I had," he explained.

Cole, however, thought wrong.  His flight from Atlanta to Montgomery--the last of the night--was delayed slightly because of some mechanical trouble at the gate.

"The pilot came back on and said Montgomery Airport had closed its runway and the flight had been canceled," Cole said.

Airport workers tell WSFA 12 News when the clock strikes 10:00PM, Resurfacing crews hit the tarmac for a project fueled by federal stimulus dollars.

"We only have one runway, and we need to work on it, so we have to work on it at night, yet we have to allow the contractors and the crews enough time that they can do some work that evening," explained Mark Wnuk of the Montgomery Regional Airport.

Since the construction began, airlines shifted their schedules.  Now, flights departing no earlier than 6:00AM and arrive no later than 9:48PM.

Still, the airport allows a few minutes of wiggle room.

"You're going to be all right, unless there's a mechanical problem or a weather delay that substantially delays your departure out of Atlanta," Wnuk said.

Tom Cole says the timing is just too close.

"If you're on a flight scheduled to leave at 9:45PM, You've got a 15 minute variance there. You're on your own after that," Cole said.

Airport workers say they allow an extra 15 minutes or so for that final flight from Atlanta.

They tell WSFA 12 News crews are already waiting beside the tarmac--ready to go at ten.

Staffers say if the rain continues, the massive project could continue until late November.

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