The ribbon is cut, and the tunnel is open.
The Huntingburg Regional Airport unveiled the state’s first tunnel under an airport runway on Monday morning.
But the time to complete the 180-foot tunnel didn’t just fly by. Dubois County Airport Authority Board President, Jim Hunsicker, says this “tunnel vision” first began 10 years ago.
“It all started with our previous boards. They were looking into the future and figuring out how we could grow with what we have here” he says.
Hunsicker says a piece of advice given to him by a former boss years ago helped them face challenges head-on throughout the project.
“There’s no growth in the comfort zone. This expansion has helped us step outside our comfort zone and we’re going to grow. We’re hoping to attract more airplanes in here and other businesses can come. This expansion also provides a way for quick communication and quick travel in and out,” he says.
Hunsicker says this expansion will help the airport tremendously.
“It allows our five corporate jets to carry more passengers and more fuel and luggage when they come in and out currently. Currently, we’re limited to about 50 percent fuel capacity. This will allow us to jump up to 85 percent fuel capacity when they leave here just by having a longer runway,” Hunsicker says.
The tunnel is the first project of a four-part plan to extend the airport. The estimated cost for the project is $13.1 million and is also 90% funded by the FAA.
Huntingburg Airport Manager, Travis McQueen, says he hopes the new addition will attract more people to the airport.
“This is a monumental milestone. And I think this is an engineering feat that people will come to see because it’s so unique and so different,” McQueen says.
The tunnel is located on County Road 200 South, and is adjacent to the intersection of County Road 900 South and County Road 200 West.
Both the tunnel and the section of County Road 200 South are now open for public use.