- Associated Press - Friday, March 7, 2014

LIHUE, Hawaii (AP) - A Lihue Airport runway needs to be extended to comply with Federal Aviation Administration rules.

One of the Kauai airport’s two runways ends just a few hundred feet from the Pacific Ocean, with no room for a necessary buffer, the Garden Island (http://ow.ly/um5Q6) reported Friday.

“We’re going to go ahead and extend the runway on the opposite side to make sure we have the clearance,” state Department of Transportation Deputy Director Ford Fuchigami said.

The FAA requires a 1,000-foot surface for a “runway safety area” surrounding the runway to reduce damage to planes in the event of an “undershoot, overshoot or excursion from the runway.” According to a 2009 federal Department of Transportation report, Congress mandated in 2005 that all commercial airports enhance passenger safety by improving runway safety areas by 2015. The FAA is required to report annually on its progress.

The state transportation department “intends to eventually extend the southwest end of Runway 3-21 (parallel to terminal) by 855 feet, while still providing a standard 1,000-foot runway safety area for the northeast end of the runway,” Justin Fujioka, spokesman for the governor’s office, wrote in an email. The southwest shifting will be toward the Kauai Lagoons Golf Club.

Earlier this week, Gov. Neil Abercrombie announced the release of nearly $100 million for construction or capital-improvement projects at airports statewide. The Lihue Airport received $410,000 for an environmental review related to the reconfiguration.

The project’s planning phase is estimated to be completed in November 2016, Fujioka said.

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Information from: The Garden Island, http://thegardenisland.com/