Brices Creek borders the main runway at Coastal Carolina Regional Airport
CRAVEN COUNTY -- The runway at Coastal Carolina Regional Airport wasn't long enough to accommodate the Wednesday night landing of the Honor Flight.
The flight took a group of veterans to Washington, D.C. and was scheduled to return to New Bern.
With the plane on the tarmac in the nation's capital, the pilot announced that the plane was too heavy to land in New Bern; the flight ended up diverting to Cherry Point.
Coastal Carolina's runway, at 6,000 feet, isn't likely to be extended, according to Tom Braaten, the airport's director.
The runway is hemmed in one side by Williams Road, and on the other side by Brices Creek.
But those limitations don't pose a problem to the airport, Braaten said.
"Right now we don't need a real long runway for the aircraft that we handle on a regular basis," he said.
If growth necessitated the question of expanding the runway, options would include filling Brices Creek or building a bridge over the waterway.
"Either way, it would be real hard" and likely encounter opposition, Braaten said.
The runway will, however, expand at its fringes.
A 150-foot paved safety zone will soon be added to the Williams Road side of the runway, Braaten said.
Another short section will be added to the creek side, along with a stretch of crushable concrete meant to stop a plane in the event of an emergency.
County leaders voted this summer to accept approximately $200,000 in federal grant money towards the project.