RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Planes taking off and landing at Raleigh-Durham International Airport will be doing so on a new runway in the coming years. The FAA recently gave the airport authorization to move forward with their plans to replace its primary runway.

“We’ve been waiting and we’re so excited to get this authorization from the FAA,” said Stephanie Hawco, RDU’s Director of Media Relations.

The airport’s primary runway was built in the 1980’s, and while airport officials say it’s perfectly safe, it has signs of wear and tear after decades of use. Its replacement was planned as the cornerstone project of Vision 2040, RDU’s masterplan to continue growing into the future.

“This will give us the opportunity to actually build a longer runway that gives planes more distance for take off and landing, and it’s going to be an economic boost, because it will allow them to carry more people and more cargo through the Triangle,” Hawco explained.

The more than $500 million project will see crews building the new runway parallel to the existing one, allowing it to continue operating while work is being completed.

“When we’re done building the replacement, we’ll go back to the original runway and turn that into a taxiway,” said Hawco.

Hawco says the project will also help the airport’s continued growth. Once the project is completed, more gates are expected to be added to Terminal 2.

Airport officials hope to start construction in the coming months. The new runway is expected to be completed by early 2028.