WALL, S.D. – The expansion of the runway at the Wall Municipal Airport will have far reaching affects for the community and industries such as agriculture, say officials.
Those same officials expect air traffic to and around Wall to become busier with the completion of the 4,418 feet expansion to the airport’s runway.
The Wall runway and related work received $5,384,000 of Federal Aviation Administration funds while the Biden administration’s federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Fund will pay around $100,000 for other parts of the project. State and local sources will split the $606,000 balance.
Wall’s Airport runway was nearing the end of its lifespan at more than 30 years old, much older than the 20-year design lifespan that was intended. Since upgrades were needed, airport officials took the opportunity to expand the runway, adding more than a thousand feet in length and fifteen feet in width.
This expansion has other added benefits including health care delivery and agricultural services.
Travis Hirschey an assistant project manager with contractor Mead and Hunt said that ag spraying services will benefit from a longer runway allowing for more chemicals to be loaded which improves field spraying efficiencies.
The upgrade will also create space for more private aircraft to be stored.
Dawn Hilgenkamp the president of Wall Economic Development said, “There’s a huge need for more hangars.
Additionally, the new runway will make it easier for time-sensitive emergency services like LifeFlight to land in Wall without impacting other takeoffs.
Other improvements to the airport include upgraded lighting and a better line of sight on the runway, making it easier and safer for pilots to land.
In addition to Wall, municipalities in Aberdeen, Eagle Butte, Pierre, and Spearfish received federal funds for airport upgrades.
Aberdeen received a $3.78 million apron expansion. The FAA will pay 95%, with state and local sources splitting the remainder. Eagle Butte was awarded $3,277,777 of runway and related work. The FAA will pay 100%. Pierre will get a $35,000 fire cart. The FAA will pay 95%, with state and local sources splitting the rest.