Pardon Our Dust: Annual Airport Construction Update

by Hal Davis
Airport Compliance Manager
WisDOT Bureau of Aeronautics
Published in Midwest Flyer – April/May 2018

Yellow X’s, like orange barrels, send multiple messages. In the literal sense, they simply say don’t land/drive here! They also signify delay and disruption. Yet, if you look past the temporary inconvenience, you will see these symbols as a sign of better things to come.

Here in Wisconsin, we are always looking to improve our airport facilities. That means smoother, longer and wider runways, enhanced navigational aids, and better terminal facilities. It also means giving airport owners the equipment they need to keep their facilities in tip-top shape. While we try to minimize the effect on airport users, impacts are sometimes unavoidable. Contact your local airport managers to find out if any projects are scheduled at the airports you frequent, and always check NOTAMs before you go flying.

2017 Recap

In the aviation industry, we have a shared priority: improving safety. With that in mind, we completed runway reconstruction projects at several airports around the state including Eagle River, New Holstein, Oconto and Solon Springs. Looking for a place to perfect your landings? Nothing beats landing on a new runway!

We also crack sealed several runways, taxiways and aprons; built new terminal buildings and hangars; installed new fuel systems and perimeter fences; and purchased snow removal, mowing and firefighting equipment for a number of airports. In total, we funded more than 100 different projects at over 50 airports last year.

2018 Outlook

While project timelines are always dependent on a variety of factors, often beyond our control, there are projects scheduled this summer which may affect users of various airports across the state. Expect full airport closures at Baraboo-Wisconsin Dells Regional Airport, Dodge County Airport, and Alexander Field due to major runway reconstruction projects. Projects at Platteville Municipal Airport, Dane County Regional Airport, Green Bay-Austin Straubel International Airport, Sawyer County Airport, La Crosse Regional Airport, and Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport will also cause some occasional runway and taxiway closures. Several additional airports will have resurfacing projects.

New or upgraded fuel systems are planned for installation at Richland Airport, Fort Atkinson Municipal Airport, Iowa County Airport and Cumberland Municipal Airport. Hangar, hangar area, and apron improvements are also planned at several airports. Finally, visitors to Shawano Municipal Airport will soon be greeted by a brand-new terminal building.

For more information on past and future airport development projects, including the Bureau of Aeronautics’ Five-Year Airport Improvement Program, visit the Wisconsin Department of Transportation website at and type in “airport five-year plan” in the search bar or call (608) 266-3351.

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