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Duluth airport receives first funding to start major reconstruction project

In receiving $7.3 million in federal funding, the Duluth International Airport begins a rebuild of the taxiway running parallel to the main runway, which was reconstructed in 2019.

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The Duluth International Airport lit at dusk on Feb. 5, 2015. Bob King / File / Duluth News Tribune

Five to 10 years of taxiway reconstruction at the Duluth International Airport has its first funding in the form of a $7.3 million federal grant.

The funding was first announced by Rep. Pete Stauber, R-Hermantown, last week. Stauber is a member of the House Subcommittee on Aviation, and noted the funding coming from the Airport Improvement Program.

"As the state of Minnesota continues down the path of recovery, providing resources for our airports is absolutely vital," Stauber said. "I will continue to work to support local airports, which are essential to the economic viability of our communities.”

The state's two Democratic senators, Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, weighed in, too, this week.

"Critical investments in our infrastructure serve as a down payment on the long-term economic well-being of our state and country,” Klobuchar said.

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“If we're going to build an economy that works for everyone, we need to prioritize investments in local airports that connect people with opportunities,” Smith added.

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People who flew into Duluth International Airport wait for rides or load their vehicles in July 2019. Steve Kuchera / File / Duluth News Tribune

The grant will be used to start work on the airport's latest major project — a taxiway reconstruction across numerous phases expected to cost $60 million-$70 million, the Duluth International Airport said in an email about the project.

Taxiway A — a parallel taxiway for the main runway serving the airport — is the project target.

"The full taxiway is approximately 10,700 feet in length with existing asphalt and concrete pavement that has been in place since 1974," the airport said in an email. "Phase 1 will include approximately 1,800 feet of taxiway, 75 feet in width, with asphalt shoulders."

The work will include drainage improvements, including potential storm structure repair or replacement, the airport said. The apron area between the parallel taxiway and the newly constructed commercial service apron will also be reconstructed as part of this project.

Additionally, new taxiway lighting will be installed, and the associated airfield lighting control system modified to match the installed lighting configuration.

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The Duluth International Airport completed reconstruction of its main runway in August 2019 . The project reconstructed around 60 acres at its airfield and cost around $38 million, most of it federal dollars.

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