Calls for runway revamp

BENDIGO airport's redevelopment will hinge on federal government support, Bendigo councillors say.

The City of Greater Bendigo is lobbying the government to add $5 million towards building a new runway.

The air strip was built in 1970 and has required significant repairs to keep it open.

Pot holes and cracks have plagued the site, while this week's extreme heat has left a series of patches expanding and bubbling in the bitumen surface.

Acting airport manager Phil Hansen said the runway was dilapidated and was unable to keep up with increased demand.

He said it was crucial a new runway was built.

"It becomes a safety issue where it's dangerous for planes to land there," he said.

"It's been in a bad state for a long time.

"We need federal support to get it happening."

City of Greater Bendigo mayor Barry Lyons said the planned redevelopment would include a new runway at a cost of $15 million.

He said the council and state government had pledged $5 million each in funding but the project was waiting on federal backing.

"The runway is the most critical aspect of the redevelopment," he said.

"Apart from some ad hoc repairs, the runway has virtually been left untouched and as a result it is deteriorating rapidly."

Cr Lyons said the new 1600-metre long and 30-metre wide runway would be built next to the existing strip. He said it was designed to keep up with growing demand and to cater for investment in the region.

The airport services more than 29,000 take offs or landings each year.

Mr Hansen said it was an important site for emergency services aircraft, including Ambulance Victoria and the Country Fire Authority.

He said the airport was closed for a day for maintenance works in June last year and all aircraft were forced to make alternative arrangements. 

"It's something we don't want to do but it has been necessary," he said.

Councillor James Williams, who chairs the Bendigo Airport Advisory Committee, said the airport would languish without a new runway. 

He said the council was hoping to get a commitment from the federal government before the end of the year. 

The redevelopment is expected to be completed in 2017.

Bendigo Airport safety concerns

A spokeswoman for Infrastructure Minister Warren Truss said the government has not received a submission from the council but would consider an application.

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