The Southwest Oregon Regional Airport in North Bend serves customers along the entire South Coast.

NORTH BEND — The Southwest Oregon Regional Airport is getting $3.7 million in grants to upgrade its runway system.

Representative Peter DeFazio made the announcement last week that over $3.8 million in airport improvement grants are going to both the “Cave Junction and North Bend Airports,” all from the Federal Aviation Administration.

“The Illinois Valley Airport in Cave Junction will receive $150,000 to rehabilitate the runway and reconstruct the aging taxiway,” the release said from DeFazio.

But the grant for the Southwest Oregon Regional Airport is going to help install a visual guidance system and “rehabilitate runway lighting” to make arrivals and departures safer, the release said.

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The airport's executive director, Theresa Cook, told The World in an email that the money is specifically going toward installing over 20 miles of electrical cable and conduit and over 500 runway and taxiway lights. It will also pay for the replacement of 50 lit runway and taxiway directional signage boxes.

“The replacement of a Visual Approach Slope Indicator with a Precision Approach Path Indicator for aircraft to utilize during their landing approach to the runway,” is also part of the upgrades, Cook wrote. “The current system is over 25 years old and this grant will provide for a new modern, reliable airport lighting and navigational system.”

This grant follows a $6.5 million grant to fund the airport’s new Rescue and Firefighting Station, also secured by DeFazio.

“As Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I’ve pushed for increased investment in Oregon’s rural airports,” said Rep. Peter DeFazio in the release. “These funds will keep SW Oregon’s airports running efficiently, keeping passengers safe and encouraging economic growth for the entire region.”

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Reporter Jillian Ward can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 235, or by email at jillian.ward@theworldlink.com. Follow her on Twitter: @JE_Wardwriter.