Monday, November 23, 2020

Runway expansion: Govt urged to move fast on Madurai underpass

Madurai: The state government should take an expeditious decision on expansion of the Madurai airport runway in the wake of Airports Authority of India informing that proposal to construct an underpass for Ring Road through the runway is financially unviable, various stakeholders have said.

Ring Road, which connects various southern districts, passes through the proposed place where the runway expansion was planned. It will have to be diverted to circumnavigate the area or an underpass built. Observers point out that although such a diversion would cost far less, it could be unrealistic considering the additional 160 acres of land acquired. This may lead to litigation and the process could drag on for years. It has been 12 years since the acquisition of 615 acres of land for runway expansion was proposed, but it is yet to be completed.

"Although Mysore and Varanasi airports are getting underpass, AAI has refused it for Madurai citing the cost factor. State government should come forward to take up the project in the best interests of the development of the southern districts," said an official at Madurai airport.

At present, Madurai airport’s runway length is 7,500 feet which is proposed to be expanded to about 12,500 ft, which means it will have to be expanded for about one-and-a-half kilometres. This will facilitate the landing of wide-body aircraft.

23/11/20 V Devanathan/Times of India

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