FORT SMITH, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – The Fort Smith Airport is about to begin construction on major improvements.

The airport will break ground on a $22-million runway expansion within the next 3 weeks.

The project will cost the city of Fort Smith $5-million, and the remaining $17-million will come from the state.

The extended runway will allow larger jets to take off from the airport while fully loaded with fuel and cargo, or passengers.

City Administrator, Carl E. Geffken, says this is just the latest step being taken to improve quality of life in Fort Smith.

“Continued economic development in the city of Fort Smith to provide jobs and expansion and growth, to provide better salaries and a better standard of living,” said Geffken.

The construction is scheduled to be finished in April of next year.

The airport is also applying for a $1-million grant to help attract additional airlines and with more routes from the River Valley.

The city has already agreed to pay $100,000 in matching funds to qualify for the grant.