Mandan News

Contractor told to complete Mandan airport work

Contractors  work on the new runway at the Mandan Airport. A wet summer caused work delays in completing the 4,400 foot long concrete runway at the airport south of Mandan. Photo by Tom Stromme, Lee News

Contractors work on the new runway at the Mandan Airport. A wet summer caused work delays in completing the 4,400 foot long concrete runway at the airport south of Mandan. Photo by Tom Stromme, Lee News

The Mandan Airport Authority Monday directed general contractor Northern Improvement to complete its $6.1 million runway replacement project “as soon as possible.”
On Tuesday morning, the resurfacing of the paved runway was completed, but it was not ready to receive any planes.

“Right now, our goal is to get it operating,” said Airport Manager Jim Lawler on Tuesday.
The airport has been closed since Sept. 4 when the grass runway was shut down to allow the final stages of work to be done. The paved runway was closed down since April when excavation work started.

By contract, Northern Improvement agreed to complete the full project one month after the grass runway was shutdown. That made the deadline Oct. 4.

Lawler said the Airport Authority had budgeted for being offline for six months for the paved runway, but the airport continues to lose money for every day it is closed past the Oct. 4 deadline. Every year, the airport handles 15,000 takeoffs and landings for light engine and twin engine planes. The airport runway has not been replaced in 35 years.

He said the grass runway may not reopen again until late summer of 2014 because seeding may be delayed by October’s rain and snow.

The contract involved replacing the 4,400-foot runway and the runway lighting system.

Northern Improvement officials said excess rains in April, June, mid-summer and September impeded completion. Brad Ballweber, vice president and treasurer of Northern Improvement, said its crews have been working six days a week to keep ahead of the weather.

“They are now under penalty,” Lawler said. The Airport Authority will decide how much the contractor will be fined later, he added. “They’ve been directed to get it open as soon as possible,” he said. “There is a lot to be done.”

He said lights, signs, road sealing and painting still need to be done to allow the airport to run again.

Federal funds will pay for 90 percent of the project costs.

By LeAnn Eckroth, Lee News