Airport sees runway replacement

Friday, June 10, 2022

LE MARS — Since early April, sounds of planes taking off and landing at the Le Mars Municipal Airport have not been heard as crews are working on replacing the runway.

City Administrator Jason Vacura said Godbersen-Smith Construction was awarded the contract to replace the runway as part of the Airport Runway 18/36 Reconstruction Project.

The project involves replacing about 4,500 feet of runway.

“We are not replacing the two turnarounds at the ends of the runway,” Vacura said.

The project is expected to be completed by July 1.

Work started in April on taking out the existing concrete.

“They removed some undesirable subgrade material, as there was more sand in the subgrade than what was anticipated,” Vacura explained. “With that extra removal, they hauled in more dirt to take its place and bring it back up level, then disked it, turned it, and recompacted it. They are actually adding a substance to harden the dirt.”

Alleviating Water Issues

Work is also being done on installing some sub-drain material, to drain water from underneath the runway.

The concrete which was removed was crushed by Schmillen, and put in the pile at the north end of the airport. The crushed concrete will be placed back down on the compacted dirt and concrete will be poured on top.

The crushed concrete layer will be six inches deep, with six and half inches of concrete poured for the runway surface.

He added Bolton & Menk, who are the project engineers, are onsite every day.

The Meat of the Project

Vacura said Godbersen-Smith has a 75 work day contract on the project.

The project is a 90 percent FFA/10 percent city funding split. The project bid was awarded in May 2021.

Godbersen-Smith’s bid was $2,766,259.75, 26.7 percent below the engineer’s estimate.

Bolton & Menk Inc., reviewed the bids, and indicated the bid may have been lower because the project was to be done early in the 2022 construction season and contractors like to have a large project ready to go early in the season.

Airport manager Tom Mullally said he misses the planes coming in and going out.

“But it’s worth the wait having the new concrete and all,” he said.

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