Hartford airport project could begin in fall
After 15 years, city looks to begin accepting bids July 20

By JOE VANDELAARSCHOT - Daily News

May 12, 2017

Tom Brown of Hartford works on his 1941 Waco airplane in his hanger Thursday morning at the Hartford Municipal Airport in the town of Hartford.
John Ehlke/Daily News

Work could finally begin in September on expansion and reconstruction of the Hartford Municipal Airport runway. City officials have been working for nearly 15 years to gain state and federal approvals to move ahead with the work.

City Administrator Steve Volkert said in a recent memo to other city officials that he received a tentative timeline of events that should take place soon from Paul Strege, of Mead and Hunt, who has been working on the engineering for the project on the city’s behalf.

“Bid opening is scheduled for July 20,” Volkert said. “The contract will be awarded in mid-August to early September. At that point the FAA provides a discretionary grant for the project.”

Volkert said he was told those funds are not typically issued until very late in the federal fiscal year. A notice to proceed (NTP) will then be issued after the contract is awarded.

Construction could start as soon as 10 days after the NTP has been issued, which could be early to mid-September.

An unidentified airplane is covered near a small patch of dandelions Thursday morning at the Hartford Municipal Airport in the town of Hartford. Bids for the expansion project at the airport are expected to begin being accepted in July.
John Ehlke/Daily News

Dave Montesinos, project manager for the Wisconsin Bureau of Aeronautics and who’s been assisting the city, said officials are wrapping up all the environmental and land purchasing issues.

“We plan as early as September possibly, but more likely October, that we’ll have a contractor out and they will start work on the east end of the new runway,” Montesinos said. The project, he said, will be done in phases.

“We’re going to the the east side first which will not affect airport operations at all and we’re going to get that done with the first round of money we get,” Montesinos said. “Then next year when we get our second round of money we will do the next phase which entail closing down the runway and disrupting airport operations.”

Montesinos said those involved expect to have the entire project completed by the fall of 2018.

“Some of it could go into 2019, but the bulk of it should be done in 2018,” he said.

Montesinos said those involved in the land purchases seem to be getting close to finalizing that work.

“It sounds like some people are willing and some are not so sure,” he said. “Dianne Danielson is in charge of land purchases and issues.”

Danielson said negotiations are ongoing for purchasing about 68 acres needed for the project.

Officials said earlier that land will need to be bought from adjacent property owners John and Laura Novak, Paul and Dana Osmanski, and Marie Rettler and James Borlen.

Officials had hoped to have the project completed at the latest by the end of last summer so it would be ready for visitors who will travel to the area in June for the U.S. Open Golf Championship at Erin Hills.

Besides the runway realignment and extension project, the plan calls for reconstruction of the runway apron in 2019, installing a weather-reporting system in 2020 and construction of a terminal building in 2021.

Because of the the lengthy delay in getting the project started, the state and the city together have spent about $34,000 on repairs that would tide the airport runway over until the runway extension and renovation project takes place.