Hettinger may get new runway

The airport in Hettinger could be getting a face lift. According to the chairman of the Airport Authority, Jay B. Lindquist, The Federal Aviation Administration recently informed him that there may be some discretionary funds available for improvements.

File Photo
File Photo

By COLE BENZ | Record Editor | cbenz@countrymedia.net

The airport in Hettinger could be getting a face lift. According to the chairman of the Airport Authority, Jay B. Lindquist, The Federal Aviation Administration recently informed him that there may be some discretionary funds available for improvements.

When all the funding from the FAA is distributed appropriately, the remaining dollars go into a separate fund, discretionary funding.

The FAA determines who gets a slice of the funding by qualifying airports based on need. Airports are constantly being examined by surveyors and so the administration has records of repairs and the current state of different facilities.

Bids are now being accepted by the Adams County Airport Authority, and the focus of the project will be rebuilding the main runway.

“We’re hoping we get discretionary money to rebuild the main runway,” Lindquist said.

According to Lindquist, it has been 20 years since the runway was last rebuilt. Lindquist said that this project has been discussed for quite a few years, and that it didn’t just pop up because of the FAA’s funding announcement.

“This is an ongoing thing, we didn’t just wake up one day and say ‘let’s build a new airport,’” Lindquist said.

This possible construction project is just the latest in a slew of airport renovations around the southwest region of the state. Recently the airport in Mott was granted funding for renovations, and a completely new facility was built in Bowman east of town.

Lindquist said there are still a few hurdles the authority has to clear before construction can begin. First, the bids are still being accepted and contractors have until August 21 to submit estimates. Following the bidding process a contract will awarded, then the airport authority will present their project to the FAA.

Following the airport authority’s submission to the FAA, the FAA will then need to figure out if they qualify and if there are funds available for the project.

The FAA will cost-share 90 percent of the project, meaning the funds will cover 90 percent of the bill, and the airport authority will have to fund the remaining 10 percent.

A timeline for the project has yet to be determined. The authority will know more after the bids have been submitted and if they are granted the funds. But ultimately the contractor that is selected will figure out the time it will take to redo the runway.

Lindquist said the whole process breaks down to three questions: Is there discretionary money?, How much money is available?, and Does the airport qualify?.

If the bids come in higher than the FAA has funds for, the airport would have to hold off for another year and see if there are more funds available next year.

But as of now, Lindquist said the airport authority is making sure they have everything in place in the event their are granted money.

“We’re making sure we are in a position so that if discretionary money shows up, and if we qualify, we will stand a chance at it,” Lindquist said.







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