Airport renovation

KRISTI HINE/TRUE DAKOTAN

Airport manager Brian Bergeleen (left) meets with Jordan Allbee, Resident Project Engineer for Helms and Associates and Logan Tunnissen, summer intern for the engineering firm at Don Kraft Field in Wessington Springs. A runway renovation is underway at the airport with construction scheduled through the remainder of the summer. 

The airport runway at Don Kraft Field Wessington Springs Municipal Airport is receiving a $1,787,210.65 makeover to repair the airstrip originally built in 2001. 

“The original runway didn’t have a good base,” said project engineer Michael Schmit of Helms & Associates. “It didn’t have a sub-grade for frost protection. This reconstruction is going down farther — from the top of the asphalt to the top of sub grade, it will be 39 inches thick.”

Brian Bergeleen, current Mayor of Wessington Springs has been the airport manager since it opened and said the project is funded only in part by the city: 90 percent of the project is funded by federal dollars, with five percent paid for by the state and the remaining five percent ($89,360.54) budgeted by the city through the second penny fund. 

Jordan Allbee, Resident Project Engineer for Helms and Associates said that they are currently working on the second of five layers that will make up the runway: sub grade (level 1), recycled sub-base (2), sub-base from a local pit (3), crushed base course (4) and pavement (5). He said that wet weather this spring and summer has delayed the project schedule and general contractor Bryan VanberPol of VandberPol Dragline out of Mitchell, SD echoes that statement. 

“Weather has been a huge factor,” VanberPol said about the renovation of the 3600 foot by 60 foot runway renovation that began in May this year. “To give an idea how the rain has affected the project, it took ten days to complete a 900-foot stretch which should have taken two days.” 

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