Monumental Event for New Passenger Terminal: Crews Begin Installing Steel Columns

Just before 3 pm on Wednesday, under sunny blue skies and surprisingly mild temperatures for the month of November, construction of the new passenger terminal at the Duluth International Airport really took off.

“This was an amazing day for the airport,” said Duluth Airport Authority Executive Director Brian Ryks. “We’ve been working on Phase 2 of the project for some time, but from now forward, the structure-that so many have rallied around in so many important ways-will quickly start to come to life.”

The first 40-foot-long steel column was put in place by a TEREX HC-50 Crawler Crane, and 40-plus more columns are soon to follow. “It’s like a huge jigsaw puzzle,” explained Kraus-Anderson Construction Company Project Manager Brett Cahoon. “Over the next few months, the whole superstructure of the building will take shape. Once the vertical columns are in place, horizontal ones will be bolted in, forming the support for the floors of the new passenger terminal.”

By early next year, the concrete floors will be poured in the three-story structure. By early spring 2011, the exterior walls will be built and then all of the interior work can begin. “There were 136 jobs created last year because of this project, and there are more than 100 people working on the new terminal right now,” said Ryks. “During construction and once the new facility is built, the airport truly is an economic engine for this region.”

Kraus-Anderson Construction Company is the Construction Manager that has been coordinating the 40-plus contractors who have been working on the project so far.

The terminal will also help strengthen the region’s aviation sector, including Cirrus Design, the 148th Fighter Wing, Northstar Aerospace, Monaco Air and Lake Superior College’s Minnesota Center for Advanced Aviation.

Designed by architectural firm Reynolds, Smith, and Hills, Inc., in conjunction with Stanius Johnson, the new terminal will allow for greatly improved passenger comfort and more amenities than the current terminal could since post-9/11 Department of Homeland Security and FAA requirements were put in place. It will also be much more efficient in all aspects, from the flow of foot traffic to the heating and cooling of the building.

“We’re seeing excellent growth in utilization of air service out of Duluth, with year-to-date passengers up 18 percent,” said Ryks. “But being able to better accommodate our travelers and our carriers in the future is key to the airport’s ongoing success.”

The airport will remain fully operational throughout the project, which is slated for completion in late 2012.

About Duluth International Airport

Allegiant Air offers two weekly nonstop flights to Las Vegas and two weekly nonstop flights to Orlando; Delta offers seven daily nonstop flights to Minneapolis/St. Paul and two daily nonstop flights to Detroit; and United Express offers twice daily nonstop flights to Chicago.

Duluth Airport Terminal Making Big Progress

In just a few weeks two passenger enclosures will be built to keep people safe from the weather and from traffic as they walk from the parking lot to the Duluth International Airport terminal. The enclosures will be up for the next two years while construction continues on the new building.

The $65 million project is expected to be more passenger friendly and more efficient. But getting there isn’t easy. Traffic signs change often, sometimes daily, causing confusion.

Brian Ryks, Executive Director of the Airport, said this is a small price to pay for a terminal that could fly in busness from across the world.

“Be cognizant of a long-term product which will be a much more convenient much more efficient facility for passengers to use as they’re coming and going from Duluth,” Ryks said.

The new terminal will also house more shops and vendors and allow for further expansion.

The airport has been adding flights from United and Allegiant airlines and they’re hoping the new terminal will help the airport get direct services to Phoenix and Denver in the future.

Klobuchar, Franken, Oberstar Announce $5 Million for Improvements to Duluth Airpor

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken and Congressman Jim Oberstar announced today that the Department of Transportation has awarded Duluth International Airport $5 million to construct a terminal building and improve the airport’s infrastructure.

“A 21st-century economy demands a 21st-century transportation network,” Klobuchar said.“By investing in our infrastructure today, we’re creating jobs and laying the groundwork to address Minnesota’s and the nation’s transportation needs in the future.”

“Regular and reliable air service is imperative to maintaining a strong economy throughout northeastern Minnesota,” Franken said. “This funding will create jobs that Minnesotans need today and sustain the area’s prosperity in the future.”

“The terminal building is obsolete,” said Oberstar. “Passengers who have cleared security screening do not have access to restrooms and the tails of the jets protrude onto the active taxiway when they are parked at the terminal gate. The new terminal building will ensure that Duluth continues to have quality air service.”

The $5 million will go towards completing the second of the project’s three phases. The first phase was completed last year and resulted in the creation of 136 jobs. The project will be completed in 2012, resulting in an additional 200 construction jobs with no additional cost to local taxpayers.

Governor Signs Bonding Bill for Duluth Projects

Governor Pawlenty signed the bonding bill today giving the green light for the Duluth International Airport ($11.7 million) terminal project and providing $27 million for the state’s Wastewater Infrastructure Fund (WIF), which is geared towards projects such as those requested by the City of Duluth for the East Interceptor sanitary sewer overflow tank and the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District’s (WLSSD) Polk Street pump station and storage facility.

Work on the airport terminal could start as early as July this year. “We are pleased that the legislature and Governor recognize the statewide significance of the Duluth International Airport. These funds will help complete Phase 2 of our work to replace the existing terminal facilities making us an even more attractive and competitive market for air travel,” says Brian Ryks, Executive Director, Duluth Airport Authority.

The City of Duluth and WLSSD will need to apply for funding through WIF but both projects are high priorities on the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s project list and poised to meet scoring criteria for funding.

“We are very pleased that the Wastewater Infrastructure Fund (WIF) remained at $27 million as passed by the legislature,” said Marianne Bohren, WLSSD executive director. “These funds will be used to provide grant assistance to high priority wastewater priorities across the State such as our Polk Street pump station and storage basin project. Both the WLSSD and the City of Duluth are challenged to meet the mandates of the Consent Decree and we would like to acknowledge our local legislators who worked diligently to ensure the bonding bill presented to the Governor included adequate funding to ensure we meet these mandates.” WLSSD plans to solicit bids for its Polk Street project later this month and construction is expected to begin in June.

“We are confident that our project will meet the WIF funding criteria. This funding will help Duluth’s efforts to protect Lake Superior in accordance with the Consent Decree and reduce the burden on our rate payers,” says Mayor Don Ness.

An estimated $8 million is needed to complete the next two phases of work on the City’s East Interceptor sanitary sewer overflow tank. Work could start this summer to construct an 8 million gallon storage tank, replacement of a maintenance building, and new bathroom facilities. The SSO tank is required under the city’s consent decree with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Total cost of the project is estimated to be $18 million and could be completed in the next two years.