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Airport ready for 2019 runway project

Theodore Roosevelt Regional Airport begins construction of its new temporary runway this spring. The parallel taxiway will be used as a temporary runway while the main runway is being reconstructed. The project is being done in multiple phases. P...

Theodore Roosevelt Regional Airport has received $9.8 million in USDOT funds for its upcoming runway expansion project, and is eligible for another $3.6 million in ND Energy Infrastructure and Impact office funds. (Brandon L. Summers / The Dickinson Press)
Theodore Roosevelt Regional Airport is ready to start construction of a new temporary taxiway this spring. Once completed, the main taxiway will be reconstructed to better accommodate new, larger aircraft. (Brandon L. Summers / The Dickinson Press)

Theodore Roosevelt Regional Airport begins construction of its new temporary runway this spring.

The parallel taxiway will be used as a temporary runway while the main runway is being reconstructed.

The project is being done in multiple phases. Phase 2 is the start of construction.

"We'll start on that as soon as weather permits," Kelly Braun, airport manager, said. "We're hoping March if we're lucky, April for sure."

Construction requires a great deal of coordination between the airport and Federal Aviation Administration.

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"We have to implement new approaches and departures for the temporary runway," Braun said, "and there's a lot of coordination that has to take place so that, in 2020, when we open that temporary taxiway up, there aren't any issues."

The construction should not impact airport operations or services.

"We're trying to coordinate everything so there are no disruptions to the commercial service and to minimize the impacts to our general aviation," Braun said.

The temporary taxiway should be completed late fall 2020.

In spring 2021, reconstruction of the airport's main runway will begin.

"We're anticipating that only taking us one year to complete," Braun said.

The contractor for the total $64 million project is Dickinson-based Martin Construction.

A new runway is needed.The new 100-seat aircrafts, replacing the 50-seat regional jets, are larger, Braun said, and the airport's runways do not meet the requirements to be able to handle those aircraft.

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"The width, the length, and especially the load-bearing capacity, or the thickness of the runway, those are things that need to be upgraded," he said.

Runway safety areas, or RSAs, also currently don't meet FAA requirements, especially on approach of runway 3-2.

RSAs must be 1,000 feet long by 600 feet wide.

"We don't have a full RSA on the approach of runway 3-2," Braun said.

The project is an exciting one for Braun.

"It's been a long process to get everything in order to actually start the construction phase of this project," Braun said. "We've been pushing this lock for a long, long time to actually see the construction start."

The timing is good, as well, Braun said, as the airport continues to see increasing numbers of passengers.

"Our enplanement numbers, after dropping in 2015, continue to pick up month over month. That trend continues to climb and we're super-excited for that," he said. "We're anticipating that, by the time this project has completed, it will be just in time to continue that upward trend."

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