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Enough runway will be remain open to deal with emergencies

I read in the Mail Tribune the other day that the airport gets emergency calls from time to time. Last year the airport runway was going to resurfaced this spring. How is that going to affect airline flights, and what will happen if there is an emergency during resurfacing?

— Tom H., Central Point

Yes, indeed, there will be some schedule changes — although they haven't all been logged in yet. Beginning May 19, airport Director Bern Case tells us, the primary north-south runway used for commercial flights will be closed between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. each day so crews can do resurfacing work on small sections of the 8,800-foot runway each night.

"It will affect a couple of late-night flights, but we're doing everything we can to minimize the impact," Case said.

He expects to see announcements regarding airline schedule changes soon.

As for late-night emergencies, Case said, the airport can offer a half-loaf while workers are chewing up other parts of the runway.

"The control tower is closed at that time, but there are project managers and engineers listening to the radio," he said. "We might not have 8,800 feet available, but we can offer 5,000 feet. In a bona fide emergency, sometimes aircraft will land on a taxiway."

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.