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Airport receives $9M USDOT grant

Theodore Roosevelt Regional Airport has received a U.S. Department of Transportation grant for $9,870,000 for its upcoming runway expansion project. The Essential Air Service program, funded through USDOT, connects rural and remote areas to major...

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 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 has received a U.S. Department of Transportation grant for $9,870,000 for its upcoming runway expansion project.

The Essential Air Service program, funded through USDOT, connects rural and remote areas to major hubs, and guarantees North Dakota communities have affordable air travel.

Each year, EAS invests $4.2 million in Dickinson's airport.

"We'll be using those funds for our runway project, which will build approximately a third of our parallel taxiway, which is going to serve as our temporary runway while we rebuild our main runway," Kelly Braun, airport director, said. "It's phase two in a multiphase project."

Theodore Roosevelt Regional Airport is also eligible for $3.6 million in North Dakota Energy Infrastructure and Impact Office grant funds, which go to airports that are impacted by oil and gas development.

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The funds would be used for continued improvements at Dickinson Airport.

"That $3.6 million is what's remaining of the $5 million that was allocated to the Dickinson airport during the last biennium," Braun explained. "We have grants that will expend all of those funds."

The funds will be used for the design, construction and installation of navigation aids, as well as land acquisition, for the temporary runway.

An expanded runway is needed immediately to meet current demands, Braun said.

Private jets presently have to receive a special waiver to land because the runway is too short. It also does not meet standards also for the current commercial 100-seat planes, in terms of width, length or density.

The 100-foot runway needs to be 150 feet wide and 7,400 feet long, with a weight bearing capacity of 90,000 pound to meet today's standards.

The airport also continues to see increasing enplanement numbers each year.

"This is the prime reason why we're expending these funds and expanding our infrastructure, to meet current and future demands," Braun said.

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Braun said he is excited that the project is moving forward.

"We're on track," he said. "Securing the federal grants was a big step. And with those funds we'll be able to start actual construction, moving some dirt in the spring of this coming year."

He added, "It's been a long process to get to this point."

To facilitate the project, the airport's board approved filing condemnation actions in July against two neighboring landowners.

The airport needs roughly 200 acres from Jeff Kuhn and about 24 acres from Dale Kostelecky for the project.

With the eminent domain suit going forward, the airport can present its plans to the Federal Aviation Administration to remain on track to receive needed federal funding.

"This action will keep our project on schedule," Braun said in July.

A condemnation action against Stark County was also considered.

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The airport had requested that a section of 112th Avenue SW between 41st and 42nd Street SW be vacated for the project.

The county holds the easement on the section line.

Stark County Commissioners in July decided not to vacate the road until agreements with the landowners had been completed.

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