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Airport runway project taking off
Pre-construction meeting next week, work to start next spring
new_deh_city council runway pic.jpg
Contracts and other documents were authorized by the Great Bend City Council Monday night advancing the Great Bend Municipal Airport runway project. The work will assure that the facility can continue to handle large aircraft like the B-29 “Doc” that was in town for the Airfest. - photo by Dale Hogg

The next steps have been taken in the long-awaited project to upgrade the main runway at the Great Bend Municipal Airport, a runway that dates back to World War II.

The Great Bend City Council Monday night authorized Mayor Joe Andrasek to sign the contracts, bonds and surety with Venture Corporation and Burns and McDonnell for the Federal Aviation Administration’s runway project at the Great Bend Municipal Airport. This allows the project to proceed.

This is the southern 5,500 feet of the runway that falls under the FAA project. The city received a $6,734,361 grant that will cover 90 percent of the work, with the city paying $782,000. 

Now, airport Manager Martin Miller said some action has to be taken on the grant this year. A pre-construction meeting next week fulfills this requirement.

Construction should commence next spring. Contractors have 310 working days to complete the work.


The FAA’s $6,734,361 offer covers 90 percent of the runway replacement, leaving the city to pay for 10 percent of the total cost, or about $782,000. This federal project is for the reconstruction of the south 5,500 feet of the primary runway 17/35, as well as replacement of the associated lighting, Airport Manager Martin Miller said.

Burns and McDonnell of Wichita is the general contractor for the work. Venture Corporation of Great Bend will handle the asphalt paving as a subcontractor.

Even with the $1.1 million in construction supervision fees going to Burns and McDonald, Miller said the project is under original estimates.

The FAA also paid 90 percent of the $546,840 planning/engineering fee covering the south 5,500 feet of the runway. This was done last year.

However, airport Manager Martin Miller said the runway, which dates back to World War II, is 7,851 feet long. This makes it the longest landing strip in central Kansas and among the longest in the state.

In other words, this left 2,351 feet not covered by the FAA funding. So, the city would have been responsible for 100 percent of the design and reconstruction of the remainder, Miller said.

However, Great Bend received a grant through the Kansas Department of Transportation Aviation Division. This will cover 90 percent, or $550,102, of the additional stretch, with the city covering $55,000.

So, in all, the city will pay about $837,000 to have both the southern and northern portions of the runway rebuilt, Miller said. The total cost of the project came in at about $200,000 under estimates.

The recent Great Bend Airfest celebrated the 75 anniversary of the Great Bend Army Airfield, built to accommodate B-29s and train the crews to fly them.