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Williston moving forward with plans for $250 million airport

WILLISTON, N.D. — Williston has completed an environmental study for the planned construction of a $250 million airport.

Officials in the western North Dakota oil patch hub have forwarded the report to the Federal Aviation Administration, which could approve it by August and clear the way for a land purchase, the Williston Herald reported.

The city wants to sell the existing 80-acre Sloulin Field International Airport and buy 1,500 acres northwest of the city for the planned Williston Basin International Airport, which it hopes to open in 2017.

The city already has chosen a company to rehab the current airport site once it’s abandoned. Williston also recently was awarded $19 million in state grant money for land acquisition, terminal design and other costs associated with the airport relocation project.

“This will be the largest redevelopment project in the history of Williston,” said Shawn Wenko, executive director of Williston Economic Development.

With the oil boom in western North Dakota, traffic at Williston’s current airport is 10 times what it was built to handle. Regional jet service is now available from Williston to Minneapolis, Denver and Houston.

The new airport would be built with a mix of federal, state and local funds. The city plans to spend about $50 million on the project, with part of the cost offset by the sale of the current airport site.

In related news, $16 million airport opens in southwestern North Dakota.

Information from: Williston Herald, http://www.willistonherald.com

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