WORTHINGTON - Extension of Taxiway C at Worthington Municipal Airport will finally begin after federal funds totaling more than $1 million were awarded for the project.

On Monday, U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, along with U.S. Rep.,Tim Walz announced one of three funding pieces - nearly $400,000 in federal discretionary funds - was designated for the infrastructure improvement.

Worthington City Engineer Dwayne Haffield said federal entitlement funds and state apportionment dollars have also been allotted, amounting to $1,001,282. All of the money is generated from the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Improvement Program.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

Haffield said the funds are strictly for taxiway extension.

“It is a taxiway that parallels our secondary runway,” Haffield explained. “Right now the runway stops about 1,100 feet short of the north end of the runway. If you need to use the full runway, you have to back-taxi that 1,100 feet. This will eliminate the need to back-taxi on the runway itself to get into position to use the full runway length.”

Haffield said the project was identified a long time ago as a safety improvement.

“Given priorities on airports, typically taxiways are a little lower on the priority list,” he said. “We just had to wait until money became available for that.”

While the funds are being awarded a little late in the year for construction, Haffield said he’d been in contact with Prinsburg-based Duininck Inc., which was awarded the contract, and plans are to get started on the project this fall.

“We know it’s unrealistic to get it done now this late in the year,” he added.

The federal dollars represent 90 percent of the overall project costs. Haffield said the state is contributing another 5 percent, leaving the city with the remaining 5 percent of the $1.112 million project.

“We get a good piece of infrastructure at 5 percent cost,” Haffield said.

“As our airports continue to serve our communities, it’s critical we make investments so they can provide the services Minnesotans rely on,” Klobuchar said in press release. “Today’s investment will help do that while also supporting local jobs in Worthington.”

“Making investments in our transportation and infrastructure systems is key to strengthening Minnesota’s economy,” Franken added. “These resources will improve airport safety in Worthington, help create jobs and go a long way toward updating Minnesota’s overall transportation infrastructure.”

“These investments are critical to ensuring that our local economy continues to grow and we have access to a 21st century transportation infrastructure to attract good-paying jobs to our communities,” Walz said.