The project to extend a parallel taxiway at Bowman Regional Airport recently entered a new phase of construction. The longstanding project, which started last year, is slated for completion by 2022.
By Frank Turner
The new parallel taxiway will allow planes to get from one end of the runway to the other without getting in the way of other planes, according to Bowman Airport Authority Member Bob Sutherland. Ultimately, the new parallel taxiway reduces the possibility of two planes colliding on a runway due to a miscommunication.
Before the project was started, pilots had to use the existing runway as the taxiway and turn their plane around for takeoff. Sutherland said that it’s not uncommon for airports to use the existing runway to get to their take-off position.
“That’s what we call back taxiing,” said Sutherland. “Before you taxi down to the end of the runway, you announce on the radio and alert any traffic. Then you can taxi down the runway, turn around and take off.”
Even though the new taxiway is still not finished, Sutherland said that most of the dirt work has been completed and some planes will be able to use the taxiway soon.
“The first stage of the project is substantially complete,” he said. “For now it’s a turf taxiway, and some types of plains would be able to use the turf taxiway once it’s complete.”
Sutherland said that finishing the surface of the taxiway is the next stage in completing the project. Once the surface is finished, more types of planes will be able to use the taxiway and pilots will have safer access to the airport runway.
Sutherland said that the new taxiway is primarily a safety improvement. He didn’t expect the taxiway to improve the efficiency of the airport.
“I don’t know that it will increase our capacity in anyway,” he said, “it’s just a safer operation.”