Officials at the Williston Basin International Airport are breathing a sigh of relief as a temporary solution for the facility’s ongoing cement shortage has been found.
The airport has been dealing with a lack of cement needed to complete projects at the site, most notably the runway and taxiway. Flooding in Missouri, where the supplier is located, has created a cement deficiency not just for Williston’s airport project, but for companies all across the upper Midwest.
Airport Director Anthony Dudas said the runway is a “critical timeline piece” to complete, as the paint markings and runway edge lighting must be completed before the FAA can do the required flight checks on it.
The Williston Herald spoke with Dudas on June 24 regarding the cement shortage, and Dudas said the airport was working with the contractors and material supplier to come up with a solution that would keep the airport’s timeline intact.
In a news release received on Tuesday, July 2, the City of Williston states that 3,000 tons of cement are being shipped every week to the airport site to ensure that the runway work can continue uninterrupted.
Dudas told the Williston Herald Tuesday that the airport became aware of the first shipment in transit around June 26, and that another 3,000 tons had been delivered July 1 or 2.
“We’ve been informed, at least through our contractors that are constructing the runway and the taxiway, that their supplier is so far committing to approximately 3,000 tons per week,” Dudas explained. “This allows both of those contractors to continue. Unfortunately it isn’t at full production level, but they are able to make progress.”
The cement is shipped via rail to Minot, where it is then transported to the airport site by truck. Only the first six inches of cement had been poured for the runway, but an additional 13 inches of cement is required before it is complete. The cement will be used to complete the taxiway, as well. Dudas said the amount coming weekly is significant, but that the airport is working to bring in even larger quantities in order to maintain on schedule.
“While this is not exactly what we have been hoping for as far as material delivery,” he said. “We could definitely utilize more on the project to continue to progress, but it is moving in the right direction and with this amount of cement, we currently anticipate maintaining our commencement of operations date of October 10.”