WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WGHP) — The longest runway at Smith Reynolds Airport is set to temporarily close in June.

Planes flying in and out of Winston-Salem will be forced to take a new route. 

“The last time we did runway 15-33 was about 11 years ago, and so it’s time,” Smith Reynolds Airport director Mark Davidson. “We’re having growing pains. We’re going to see a lot of construction, so just bear with us.” 

The primary runway spans 6,655 feet. Davidson told FOX8 the runway is the lifeblood of the airport. 

“It’s like a manufacturing line,” he said. “If it was to break down, it stops everything, and that’s pretty much the situation we’re in.”

Davidson said officials with the Federal Aviation Administration and North Carolina Department of Transportation Division of Aviation decided the cracks in the runway and taxiway needed repairs. 

On June 5, the airport’s primary runway will close for 28 days. 

“Sometimes it’s busier than others,” Davidson said. “For instance, Wake Forest graduation is coming soon…so we know that we want to have the runway open during that time, so that was one of the reasons we selected our slower month of June to get a lot of this work done.” 

Some of the airport’s largest tenants like North State Aviation and Signature Flight Support are adjusting for the construction crews.   

“What they’ve done is they’ve actually coordinated maintenance,” he said. “Some aircraft will be on the ground during that time. They can do some heavy maintenance or whatever maintenance is required.” 

Plans for improvements go beyond the airfield. In the future, two 20,000 square foot corporate hangers will take the place of three buildings.

The airport terminal will get renovated, and a 60,000 square foot maintenance and repair hanger will be built over the next three years. 

A combination of local, state and federal funds totaling $65 million will pay for it all. 

“There’s changes always going on in an airport,” said Greg Purvis, director for the Forsyth Technical Community College Aviation Program.

Purvis told FOX8 that the impact on the aviation program is minimal. Instructors are using the temporary closure as a rare learning opportunity.  

“They need to know how the taxiway works, how the air system works, how the control tower works,” Purvis said. “We put that all together for them, so that’s what’s so valuable about being here on the airport.”

Davidson said the Piedmont Flight Training building beside the terminal will be demolished. A representative for the flight school told FOX8 they are considering a move to another building at the airport.