Panel recommends new runway at New Ulm airport

NEW ULM – The New Ulm Airport Advisory Commission recommended relocating the crosswind runway at its Tuesday meeting.

Residential development in the Sarah Hills subdivision is encroaching areas that need to be protected for the runway. Bryan Page, a representative from consultants Mead & Hunt, said that an incompatible land use issue could occur.a

The new crosswind runway will be lighted and paved to provide better all-weather coverage. The project will need planning and environmental updates. The Commission was advised that development schedules and the land acquisition process should begin this year. The Commission decided to recommend the project to the City Council in order to meet Capital Improvement Project Schedule.

Flight checks for runway lights

Commission Chair Thomas Berg questioned why runway lights are not operating despite construction being finished last summer. Page explained the lights must be tested before they can be used, and the Federal Aviation Administration will conduct the test during the day and at night.

The night flight check was scheduled Tuesday, March 11, and the day flight check is scheduled for March 17. According to Page, the flight check had been scheduled earlier, but weather had delayed the inspection.

Berg said that it seemed like an unreasonable interval between installation and test flights.

“There are many different agencies involved,” said Page. “Many parts and arms of FAA have to weigh in on this, not just local folks in Minneapolis.” In addition the approach system at New Ulm is new, which changes approach characteristics and requires additional preparation.

Taxiway Project to

begin in May

the Taxiway Project is anticipated to start in May. The project was bid in 2013, but the release of the funding occurred late in the year. The grant funding was not approved by the City until late September. A decision was made in October to defer the project until 2014. The project has three phases involving taxiway work and fixing pavement near the hangars. Page said the project would not create a significant disruption at the airport, but debris removal would be an issue.

Deicing Operation

Not Necessary

Commissioners agreed to not move forward with any pavement deicing operations. Page offered options, but he warned chemicals needed were costly. Dan Stern of the Fixed-based Operators at the Airport said deicing was a non-issue this winter. In past years ice issues were a problem, but the equipment and material required could cost around $20,000. Stern added that the new runway naturally deices faster.

Berg said the airport staff is efficient at plowing the runway, and he could remember no occasion when he chose not to fly due to poor runway conditions.

Based on information submitted by Page and Stern, the Commissioners felt deicing operations would be unnecessary.

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