September 18, 2014

Grant received for airport improvements

By Edna Sailor

The Parshall airport has received $900,000 from a FAA grant for airport improvements. The original application requested $ 1.2 million. However, the award will be valuable and allow updates to begin immediately. Airport Manager, Richard Bolken said that with Killdeer and New Town airports closed for improvements, Parshall Airport has quickly become a very busy place.

Bolkan says the money will be used to refurbish the runway and taxi way with new overlay. New markers will be added. Runway lights will need to be lifted and extended. Engineers, the airport board and manager have targeted fall of this year to complete the improvements.

Bolkan, the former Mayor of Parshall and Airport Manager does not see numbers dropping even when Killdeer and New Town airports reopen. Oil related development accounts for much of the increased aircraft traffic. However, during the farming season, the runways are also used by at least four crop spraying companies which circle in and out several times a day.

Bolkan commented, "I don’t think most people know how many planes actually fly in here."

The Airport Board and its manager have seen flights go from one or two a day to 12 to 15 per day. The small Mountrail County airport was not originally designed or equipped for such large increases in air traffic. It is inevitable that along with increased traffic comes need for growth to address user needs.

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