Commercial flights at Hays Regional Airport won’t be interrupted when the city of Hays upgrades the lighting on Crosswind Runway 4-22 in 2020.

The project is a priority, according to background material provided to Hays City Commissioners.

“Recent inspections and correspondence with the FAA have ranked this project as a priority, and the FAA has provided notice of their intent to fund the project,” said the information.

Paid for 90% with a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration, the project won’t disrupt traffic on the airport’s main runway, said City Manager Toby Dougherty.

“The crosswind runway was built back in the early ‘90s, I believe, and the lighting that was put in wasn’t installed with longevity in mind, it was installed with cheapness in mind,” Dougherty said at a routine press briefing Tuesday morning. “So it’s time to be replaced.”

Hays City Commissioners will hear details at their work session Thursday evening at City Hall, 1507 Main.

On Dec. 12 they can vote whether to approve the $1.12 million project at their regular meeting. If approved, Dougherty said the city will move forward with design and engineering. The city's total share of the project would be $111,870.

The crosswind runway was built with direct bury wiring for the runway edge lighting.

“Direct burial causes severe deterioration of cables and creates high maintenance costs for repair or replacement,” according to the background material.

The project will replace all the lighting around the runway, along with the approaches, as well as where the crosswind runway intersects the taxiway and the main runway, Dougherty said. Upgrading to a can and conduit system with LED lights will improve safety and reduce maintenance and energy costs, according to city information.

The work will interrupt crosswind runway operations occasionally, Dougherty said.

"It will require periodic closures for the crosswind runway, but it shouldn't affect the main runway," he said. "It will be minimal impacts on the main runway, if there are closures, they'll make sure it's done when it's times when there's minimal general aviation and commercial traffic. We're not going to unnecessarily disrupt planes."

The hope is for a spring bid-letting, with construction completed in late fall, Dougherty said. The project has been in the city's Airport Capital Improvement Program for several years.