Auburn University Regional Airport in the state of Alabama, USA, has been instructed by the Federal Aviation Administration to extend the safety area of one of its runways into the adjacent Indian Pines Golf Course. Consequently, the Golf Course will have to redesign some of its holes to address the changes caused by the runway extension.

Key stakeholders from the Airport’s Management Team and from Indian Pines Golf Course met last Thursday 16th December 2021 to present to the local council a project plan to increase the length of Runway 1-8’s safety area. Currently, the safety area on the runway strip has a length of 350 feet but will need to be doubled in length to 700 feet, in order to comply with the instruction from the Federal Aviation Administration. The extension will therefore eat into a portion of the Country Club Road surrounding the airport and indeed the Indian Pines Golf Course.

As per Federal Aviation Administration regulations, they define the runway safety area as follows:

“A surface surrounding the runway, typically 500-feet wide and extending 1,000-feet beyond each runway end that provides a graded area in the event that an aircraft overruns, undershoots or veers off the side of the runway.”

Increased Airport Safety Equates to Growth

The Assistant Director of the Auburn University Regional Airport, Todd Storey, has indicated that the runway extension project will be needed to ensure that the Auburn-Opelika region can continue to grow its business industries. 

Runway Extension Evolution | © Opelika Auburn News
Runway Extension Evolution | © Opelika Auburn News

He said, “It will allow the growth of the community and development to still happen, so we’ve got to go to design or else it’s going to have a negative impact on the community. It’s going to be multi-phase, (completed) in 2024 or 2025.”

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