PEORIA — The Peoria airport will receive nearly $2 million in federal funds for a runway lighting rehabilitation project.

The funds from the Department of Transportation's Airport Improvement Program were announced by U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth on Tuesday morning.

Gene Olson, director of the Gen. Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport, said the money will be used to install "a nicer, newer, easier-to-maintain lighting system for the runway edge lights."

In short, the grant will allow officials to do maintenance on the lights or replace them without having to completely close a runway.

Right now, Olson said, the existing system for those lights includes cables directly buried in the ground and aging lighting fixtures.

"It's just kind of in bad shape and requiring a heck of a lot of maintenance by my staff," he said.

The renovations will replace all the existing runway lights, which will be strung via cable in conduit — making groups of lights easier to replace without disrupting runway operations.

The project is to begin May 1 and last about 180 days, Olson said.