A second runway at North Texas Regional Airport — Perrin Field could soon be opened.

Grayson County Judge Bill Magers said opening the second, shorter runway could leave more time for bigger planes to use the one that is currently open.

Magers said the parallel runway at NTRA has been closed, as far as he knows, since the 1970s. He said it was cracked and needed to be repaired.

“They have cleaned the cracks and sealed the cracks,” Magers said referring to crews from county commissioner precincts.

He said 3,500 feet of the additional runway should be open for traffic sometime between the fourth quarter of 2017 and the first quarter of 2018. In July, Stephen Alexander, a partner with Texas Aviation Partners, said the portion of runway was chosen due to its condition and the relative ease of bringing it up to usable condition.

The need for additional runway space stems from training flight operations conducted by US Aviation. Alexander said the flight school conducts daily operations using prop-driven aircraft at the airport with regular takeoff and touchdowns on the runway. This traffic could make it difficult at times for larger, jet-powered aircraft to land, he said.

By separating the traffic, Alexander said the airport could alleviate any safety issues related to the two types of aircraft operating in the same space. As an analogy, Alexander compared the proposed layout as a four-lane highway, where as the airport now is close to a two-lane roadway.

“US Aviation can then move some of their smaller planes over to that runway to allow for more commercial traffic (on the primary runway),” Magers said.

In a phone call on Thursday, NTRA Director Sarah Hinton said the parallel runway has been closed since the government closed the base back in 1971.

Hinton said shifting the slower moving traffic from the main runway will open it up for larger jets and thus play a role in the future development of the airport. She said the folks in the control tower will be in charge of making decisions about who will be moved to the parallel runway and when.

The parallel runway, Hinton said, will only be open during the day because it doesn’t have any lights or automated equipment on it.

The repairs to the parallel runway, she said, cost around $100,000 out of the last fiscal budget and are expected to cost less than $100,000 in the current budget. That money, she said, came from the funds the state gives the airport to run.