Wething Field Airport Expansion Project Receives $12.8 Million Federal Grant

Wething Field Airport Expansion Project Receives $12.8 Million Federal Grant Click to Enlarge

WASHINGTON, DC--Members of Minnesota's Washington D.C. delegation announce the grant award of nearly $13 Million to Wething Field, the Detroit Lakes-Becker County Airport from the U.S. Department of Transportation to continue its airport infrastructure improvements.

Today (Thursday), District 7 Representative Collin C. Peterson and Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded Detroit Lakes-Wething Field a grant of 12-million-826-thousand-068 for airport infrastructure improvements.

Detroit Lakes City Administrator Kelcey Klemm says the award is great news. He says they were originally planning on stretching the project out two more years to accomodate the project's funding, but, he says, this latest federal grant will allow them to do it all in one more bid package. Klemm says event better yet, the grant comes with no local match, so fareway-eligble items will be funded 100 percent by the FAA.

The airport, serving Detroit Lakes and Becker County, is undergoing a $20-million multi-phase, multi-year, multi-agency runway expansion project. New funds will be used to support further development of runway construction and the extension of the parallel taxiway. These improvements will not only help the airport meet the Key Airport Standards of the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) but will also position the city and county for continued economic development.

In 2013, Congressman Peterson, Senator Klobuchar and Senator Franken convened a meeting with approximately 20 agencies involved in the environmental review process to get the project past a regulatory delay.

The project broke ground in October of 2017. Klemm says the construction timeline will remain relatively the same, bids will go out and more work for this fall. The main runway work would be done next spring or early next summer which will require about a two-month, or 60-day shutdown of the main runway. A grass runway will still remain open. Lots of prep work this fall to be ramped up for the reconstruction of the runway in 2020 and the wastewater pond would be filled in later next year to complete the project.

Longstanding efforts to expand the Detroit Lakes-Wething Field Airport have required advocating for supplemental funding, multiple grants, and cross agency meetings to break the log-jam of regulatory red tape. This latest progress is a step in the right direction to fulfill a vital community development need.

Comments from the Washington delegation:

“As an avid flyer, I understand the importance of investing in our regional airports,” said Peterson. “This is exciting progress in a multi-year project that I have been proud to support from the beginning. Investing in infrastructure means investing in our future.”

“This grant will help Detroit Lakes-Wething Field make critical infrastructure improvements,” Klobuchar said. “Having a well-maintained network of regional airports is critical for the long-term economic well-being of our state and country.”

“Airports are drivers of economic development,” said Smith. “I look forward to seeing the improvements to Wething Field bring additional opportunities to Northwest Minnesota.”

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