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Dickinson airport deals with trenching issues amid winter runway construction

Airport Manager Kelly Braun provided an update on what’s currently happening on the grounds Tuesday during his monthly manager’s report to the Airport Authority Commission.

A sign for the Dickinson Theodore Roosevelt Regional Airport is shown.
The Dickinson Theodore Roosevelt Regional Airport is on its way to finishing up the construction of its main runway by November of 2022.
(Jackie Jahfetson / The Dickinson Press)
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DICKINSON — The Dickinson Theodore Roosevelt Regional Airport is approximately 10 months away from completing its main runway construction project. Airport Manager Kelly Braun provided an update on what’s currently happening on the grounds Tuesday during his monthly manager’s report to the Airport Authority Commission.

Though the past couple of weeks have presented an abundance of frost in the ground, Roughrider Electric is taking advantage of warmer temperatures to trench in an electrical service for the new runway, digging a couple hundred of feet below the surface.

“That particular portion is a part of a bigger project. So Roughrider Electric is trenching in a new electrical service to three separate locations on the airport. Each one of those three locations is going to be a nav-aid control building,” Braun said, adding that they are all for the Instrument Landing System that will be installed in the spring.

As of now, the opening date for the reconstructed runway is set for Nov. 3. Braun said that they’re still on schedule for that completion date. The only ground work being conducted involves that trenching. Once that is completed, Braun said that they’ll be “pretty much buttoned up until spring.”

Construction workers work on concrete for the new runway project at the Dickinson Theodore Roosevelt Regional Airport.
Construction workers work on concrete for the new runway project at the Dickinson Theodore Roosevelt Regional Airport Friday, Aug. 6, 2021.
(Jackie Jahfetson / The Dickinson Press)

Construction crews wrapped up half of the main runway during the second week of November in 2021. In March, construction will pick back up to finish phase two of the completing the main runway, Braun added.

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Braun noted that with the COVID-19 relief funding in the infrastructure package that was recently passed, that will help cover the remaining costs of this project.

“(That) enabled us to finish our runway reconstruction project without having to go back to the city or the county for any local share. So essentially, phase one and phase two of the Runway 1432 Reconstruction project is going to be 100% federally funded,” Braun said.

The total amount of infrastructure that covers the reconstruction of the main runway is estimated at more than $17 million, which include two grants — one for $10.7 million and another for $7.7 million.

“Funding is always in short supply,” Braun said. “So the ability for the city and the county to allocate those dollars to other areas where there's a need is hugely beneficial all the way around. So it's good for the airport. We don't have to go ask the city and the county that had previously budgeted local matched dollars. They can spend those dollars on other places.”

A further look on the COVID-19 relief funding and future capital improvement projects at the airport will be laid out in a separate article published this Friday, Jan. 14.

Jackie Jahfetson is a graduate of Northern Michigan University whose journalism path began in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan as a freelancer for The Daily Mining Gazette. Her previous roles include editor-in-chief at The North Wind and reporter at The Mining Journal in Marquette, Mich. Raised on a dairy farm, she immediately knew Dickinson would be her first destination west as she focuses on gaining aptitude for ranch life, crop farming and everything agriculture. She covers hard news stories centered on rural communities and government, agriculture & Ranch. When not fulfilling deadlines and attending city commission meetings, she is a budding musician and singer.
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