Peeled asphalt causes delay, canceled flights at Myrtle Beach International Airport

The runway at Myrtle Beach International Airport was temporarily closed late Monday morning because of peeled asphalt.

It’s the second closure caused by the runway in less than one month.

Overnight work is being done on the runway, but it was unclear early afternoon Monday whether that played a part in the deterioration, said Ryan Betcher, a spokesman with the airport.

“A piece of asphalt that was on the runway just peeled up, so we had our maintenance crews out just cleaning up the debris,” Betcher said. “We had the construction crew out there, the ones that do the engineering part of the runway, they repaired it and it was open within 40 minutes or so. It was closed as a precaution for safety to make sure we had time to get that done.”

The closure caused two inbound U.S. Airways flights and one outbound flight to be canceled, Betcher said. It delayed a Delta flight from Atlanta by about 2 1/2 hours, according to the airport’s website.

On Oct. 21, an outage of runway lights at the airport was attributed to the near $20 million runway renovation project that started in August. Flights were suspended, and some eventually canceled, after the lights were inoperable for two hours, stranding passengers at airports in Ft. Lauderdale and New York.

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.

Betcher said the cause of Monday’s asphalt breakage was not immediately known.

“We actually don’t know what the cause was. It hasn’t been determined yet,” Betcher said. “We’re actually doing an investigation later [Monday] to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”