RED DEER -- The Lacombe Regional Airport is one step closer to getting a new and improved runway.

Lacombe County council approved funding for the Runway Remediation capital project last week. The City of Lacombe will be administering the project.

“The airport runway has been needing repair for quite some time,” said Deborah Juch, Director of Community Services for the City of Lacombe.

The project is estimated to cost just over $814,000 with 75 per cent of the cost being covered by a provincial grant called the Strategic Transportation Infrastructure Program. The remaining cost will be split between the City of Lacombe, Lacombe County, and the Lacombe Flying Club.

Juch said they put in an application for a provincial grant late last year, but were not expecting to be approved.

“We were actually surprised to get notice that we are going to get a provincial grant for that.”

The next step is for the City of Lacombe council to approve the project. The matter will be put forth to council in August.

“We will bring to council the design. I think we’re going to also tender it and we’ll bring a request that they approve the design and that they award the contract,” said Juch.

Juch said development of the new runway will be weather dependent, but they are hoping to start in fall.

“We are going to wrap it all up pretty tight and try to get the work done in the early fall.”

Juch added the runway will bring immediate safety improvements, but it will also provide much needed economic development to the airport.

“The current runway is very old and it has lasted well past its useful life span,” said Juch.

“We’re always looking forward to how we can get some economic development happening at the airport and this will certainly assist in that respect as well.”