Runway repairs underway at Tununak’s airport, planes landing

BETHEL, Alaska (AP) – The Alaska Department of Transportation states the runway at Tununak’s airport that was buckled by shifting permafrost should be fully fixed by the end of next week.

KYUK-AM reports that a team of grader operators flew to the village a few days ago and leveled the runway, allowing some planes to land. But a second shipment of materials is expected in the village on Nov. 1.

Planes stopped flying to the village’s $19 million airport that’s less than one year old about three weeks ago, forcing residents to take all-terrain vehicles across the tundra to pick up groceries and mail.

Airlines plan to start flying to Tununak again now that repairs are in place. But department spokeswoman Shannon McCarthy warns the permafrost might shift beneath the runway again next spring.

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