Minnesota DOT Office of Aeronautics
Published in Midwest Flyer – August/September 2020 issue
For public-use airports in Minnesota, the 2020 construction season is going to be busy, with numerous projects continuing in process and planned, in spite of the current health difficulties. Upcoming projects include several significant runway reconstruction projects. Some of the projects that will affect airport flight operations are described in this article, as well as a link with information about the CARES Act. Please check with your airport destination and monitor NOTAMS for specific information. Let’s all Stay Safe in the air and on the ground.
The Baudette International Airport will be reconstructing Runway 12/30 (5499’ x 100’) beginning late summer and continuing through fall of 2020. Reconstruction of Runway 12/30 is required as it has reached the end of its useful life. Construction cranes used for the replacement of the Rainy River International Bridge in 2020 will cause approach obstructions and make the instrument approach temporarily unavailable. The runway reconstruction is being condensed to 60 calendar days and timed to coincide with the bridge work. The project includes the removal and replacement of the existing runway bituminous pavement and reconstruction of two connector taxiways, as well as rehabilitation of the apron near the terminal building.
Detroit Lakes (DTL)
Runway construction continues with Phase 3 in summer of 2020, consisting of the reconstruction and widening of existing Runway 13/31. This work will require a full closure of Runway 13/31 for a period of eight weeks in the summer of 2020. At press time, the eight-week closure was tentatively scheduled to begin Monday, June 1st through July 27th. The new Runway 14/32 (5200’ x 100’) is anticipated to be open to traffic on July 27, 2020, and the new GPS approaches are anticipated to be published in late 2020 or early 2021. During the eight-week closure, turf Runway 17/35 will remain in operation, except for a 1-day closure expected June 1st. A temporary taxiway will be paved off the northwest end of the existing apron to provide access to the north end of the turf runway. Phase 4 of the project will involve installation of airport perimeter fencing, and is anticipated to begin late September 2020.
Duluth Sky Harbor (DYT)
Runway 14/32 is in the process of reconstruction by being shortened and relocated by rotating the 32 end 5 degrees into Superior Bay, to remove obstructions while protecting natural resources. In addition, a parallel taxiway is being constructed with this phase. This is the final phase of a three-phase project, which was initiated in 2017. At press time, the anticipated runway/taxiway closure period was to be May 11 through June 13, 2020.
International Falls (INL)
The 2020 project will include the design for the reconstruction of Runway 13/31, and reconstruction of Taxiway A. Taxiway A will be prepared to temporarily be used as Runway 14/32, to allow operations during future reconstruction of Runway 13/31. This project will also require short-term closure of Runway 4/22. At press time, the temporary runway (taxiway) construction was anticipated to start in June, 2020.
The 2020 project is to reconstruct Runway 15/33 (3,900’ x 75’) and partial taxiway pavement at the Princeton Municipal Airport, which has reached the end of its useful life. The project also includes runway and taxiway connector edge lights, PAPIs and REILs. At press time, the Princeton runway reconstruction project was to occur between May 20th and July 29th, 2020.
The project is to reconstruct turf Runway 9/27 (3220’ x 200’) and construct a turf taxiway. The runway was closed on May 11th, 2020 for pipeline removal and at press time, the runway reconstruct was to have started on June 8th, with an anticipated completion date of October 2020.
The CARES Act
The Covid-19 pandemic creates challenges and opportunities for airport project construction and funding efforts. Many people have questions about what the CARES Act is and how it will affect funding.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (H.R. 748, Public Law 116-136) (PDF), signed into law by the President on March 27, 2020, includes $10 billion in funds to be awarded as economic relief to eligible U.S. airports affected by the prevention of, preparation for, and response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The CARES Act provides funds to increase the federal share to 100 percent for the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) and supplemental discretionary grants already planned for fiscal year 2020. Under normal circumstances, AIP grant recipients contribute a matching percentage of the project costs. Providing this additional funding and eliminating the local share will allow critical safety and capacity projects to continue as planned regardless of airport sponsors’ current financial circumstances.
Additional information about the CARES Act can be found on the web at https://www.faa.gov/airports/cares_act/