NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) — Bigger things are in the works at New Bern’s airport.

Coastal Carolina Regional Airport (EWN) reports the first step of a runway expansion project will soon be underway as part of its multi-dimensional airport master plan to enhance the airport’s capabilities and capacity. An $8 million dollar road re-alignment project will be the first step to allow the airport to increase its runway length to a total of 6,800 feet.

In a press release from the airport, officials say the current location of the state-owned road restricts the amount of clear area for current and future runway demands. The plan is to work with the NCDOT to move the road and its associated traffic further to the north without disrupting the current normal daily traffic flow.

The funding for this project was just approved as part of the state of North Carolina’s Fiscal Year 2022-23 budget.

“Re-aligning the road and extending the runway is another step toward building a bright future for EWN,” said Airport Director Andrew Shorter. “A longer runway will make it possible for larger planes to utilize EWN, allowing us to continue to serve the travel needs of our local community and visitors to the area now and into the future. The airport is a key component to the area’s economy and we are very grateful to our state and local leaders for helping to make this important project a reality.”

The Williams Road re-alignment project will be the latest in a series of recent airport improvements. The completion of the $5 million Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) facility in late 2021 was a major step forward, increasing the level of safety and training at the airport and also providing extra support for high-level emergency situations throughout the region.

A $2 million Commercial Hanger Project is nearing completion. It will give dedicated space to the airport’s commercial clients. An official opening of that new hanger is taking place on July 22.

“Transformation has long been in the works at EWN,” said Shorter. “We’ve been making plans for years and are now thrilled to see some of those projects coming to fruition. We continue to pursue grant funding from the FAA and other sources to fund more of these projects as time goes on, including an upcoming large-scale terminal expansion.”