Tuesday’s outage of runway lights at Myrtle Beach International Airport was attributed to the near $20 million runway renovation project that started in August, according to a statement released by the airport.
Flights were suspended, and some eventually canceled, after the lights were inoperable for two hours Tuesday, stranding passengers at airports in Ft. Lauderdale and New York.
“It has been determined that the power lines leading to the runway lighting system were inadvertently severed,” according to a press release issued by the airport. “This occurrence is rare, and is attributed to the runway construction project.”
The announcement comes one day after Kirk Lovell, assistant director of airports, told The Sun News there were “different items” that caused the electric current to be impacted. Lovell said then that the outage was “not necessarily related to construction and it’s not related to any one specific thing.”
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When asked Thursday about his comment, Lovell said, “We were investigating the cause.”
The lights were restored by 10:15 p.m. Tuesday.
The airport is going through a nearly $20 million runway rehabilitation project.
Set up for the project began in August and runs through March 31. Crews from Ohio-based Anthony Allega Cement Contractor will be working overnight to rehabilitate Myrtle Beach’s lone 9,500 foot runway.
Crews are currently in the paving portion of the project. The runway is being paved between 10:45 p.m. and 6:45 a.m. during the week and 11:45 p.m. and 5:30 a.m. during the weekend. From November through the end of March, the runway edge lighting system will be replaced, the pavement will be grooved and permanently marked and grass and mulch will be replaced. The rehabilitation has a 20-year life expectancy.
The lighting phase of the project is ongoing, as such wires are open to the elements, according to the release.
“Horry County Department of Airports is committed to operating a safe and efficient airport,” said Pat Apone, director of the Horry County Department of Airports, in the release. “Safety is our top priority with daily operations and all construction projects.”