City Likely To Approve FAA Grant for Manhattan Regional Airport Project

Aug. 15, 2022

Aug. 13—The Manhattan City Commission on Tuesday will likely accept a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration and select a contractor to begin construction of the runway at Manhattan Regional Airport.

The meeting starts at 6 p.m. at City Hall.

In July, the FAA announced it would give the airport a $36.1 million grant that the commission needs to officially accept Tuesday. But a lower than expected construction bid means both the federal organization and the city government will pay less for the project, which will "rubblize" the runway's concrete. Rubblization does not involve complete demolition of the runway, but it does, in essence, smooth out the runway surface and allow crews to apply additional layers of asphalt and concrete along the runway.

The plan is to lay a 5-inch asphalt base after the pavement is rubblized, then crews will apply a 10.5-inch concrete surface. Other outside sections will get a 12-inch surface with no base. The plan also calls for the reconstruction of the secondary runway, as well as adjacent intersections and five taxiways. One taxiway will be removed, and more lights and navigational aids will be placed along the runway.

If approved Tuesday, Clarkson Construction of Kansas City, Missouri, would receive the construction contract for the lowest bid of $26.85 million.

Construction is expected to last from September to August 2023. This will include complete closures of the airfield from March 28-31, 2023, and May 12 to July 19, 2023.

The total cost for the project is $34.8 million, including planning and design. The FAA would pay for $28.5 million of the project, a U.S. Department of Defense program's share would be $3.196 million, and the city would pay $3.2 million, which will be paid through general obligation bonds. Construction costs came is significantly lower than engineers anticipated in July 2021, when they estimated a $47 million project.

City Manager Ron Fehr said he thinks project costs came in under budget because it was good timing for construction companies.

Public hearings

In other business, the commission will hold four public hearings with two of them related to the Museum of Art and Light.

The first museum hearing is to vacate part of an alley between Third and Fourth streets, and between Houston and Pierre streets. The vacated portion of the alley is for the museum to build a connection between the Sears building and what will be the new Museum of Art and Light.

The second is to vacate a portion of Pierre Street lying within lots 333-334 in Ward 1 to accommodate the re-platt of the museum.

The downtown museum will be a $44 million project to construct three-story, 50,000-square-foot building that would have a mix of traditional and digital art. The museum site is bound by Third Street to the east, Pierre Street to the south, Fourth Street to the west, and Houston Street to the north.

The commission also will consider amending the Manhattan Urban Area Comprehensive Plan by adopting and incorporating the amended bicycle and pedestrian system plan. The update to the bicycle and systems plan is to have access to federal funding for Safe Streets for All. The Safe Streets for All program pays for up to 80% of eligible project costs.

The bicycle plan has about nine projects, including bike lanes, sidewalks and multi-use paths.

Commissioners also will have a public hearing for a vacation of utility easements for 521 Richards Drive. The property owner, Shop Quik Stores LLC, wants to get rid of the easement, so it can extend the fuel station.


(c)2022 The Manhattan Mercury, Kan.

Visit The Manhattan Mercury, Kan. at

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.