North Dakota County Breaks Ground for New Airport
Nov. 7, 2012
North Dakota’s Bowman County is building a new, larger airport to support the state’s economic boom. A groundbreaking ceremony took place Oct. 16, and the dirt moving and grading phase of the project is underway.
Located in the state’s southwestern corner, Bowman County plans to close the current airport, which has a 4,800-foot runway, and replace it several miles away with a new facility that will have a 5,700-foot runway. The extra runway length will enable a wider variety of aircraft types to utilize the facility.
“After many years of planning by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), state and Bowman Municipal Airport Authority, an airport relocation project in Bowman, ND is now becoming a reality,” said Kyle Wanner, airport planner for the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission. “This updated Bowman Airport will provide a breath of fresh air to the infrastructure needs of airports in western North Dakota and will aid as an economic engine for the entire region.”
A combination of federal, state and local funds will pay for the new $12 to 12.5 million airport, which is situated about 3.5 miles east of the city of Bowman. It is expected to open in 2015.
The presence of railroad tracks and a highway near the existing Bowman Municipal Airport (BPP) left no room to expand there, Wanner explained. The current airport, which opened in 1944 and is half a mile west of the city, also faces multiple wildlife hazards and does not meet modern FAA design standards.
Bowman County is not the only North Dakota community that is eyeing expanded aviation capabilities to help keep the state’s fast-growing economy humming. A surge of new oil drilling has led the town of Killdeer in the western half of the state to look at reopening Weydahl Field (9Y1), which has been closed for about two years.
“The increase in capability at Bowman is the beginning of crucial updates needed in North Dakota for the national airport system,” said Larry Taborsky, the state’s aeronautics director and an NBAA Member. “Our state has become an important part of the country’s energy plan, and the state’s western airports will be needed for business to run effectively.”