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Sioux Gateway Airport stock

An American Eagle regional jet sits on the runway at Sioux Gateway Airport. Airport officials are planning a massive reconstruction project along the north-south runway over the next three years, a $26 million project. 

SIOUX CITY | With the help of significant federal funding, Sioux City plans to replace a decades-old runway at Sioux Gateway Airport over the next three years. 

The city is in the design phase for the replacement of Runway 17-35, a north-south crosswind runway used by commercial and general aviation aircraft.

During a joint meeting of the Sioux City Council and Sioux Gateway Airport Board of Trustees Wednesday, airport director Mike Collett outlined the project and told the council the runway has exceeded its design life. The asphalt overlay is about 20 years old, while the base is estimated to be more than 50 years old.  

The proposed project will reconstruct the runway in phases. Under current plans, the Federal Aviation Administration would cover about 90 percent of the $26 million project, leaving Sioux City with about $2.6 million in costs. 

Grant funding for construction and bidding is planned for 2018, with construction work to be completed over two phases in 2019 and 2020. Collett said the city is looking at multiple phasing options and hopes to reduce the impact to air traffic during construction.

"We could choose to have a full closure on a few weekends over the summer, which would be different than limiting the runway length," he said. "So we'll have different impacts depending on which way we go and which aircraft American (Airlines) flies during that period." 

American is the only airline at the airport, flying regional jets daily to and from Chicago and Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas.

Airport looking westward

In other business Wednesday, Collett told the council the airport's top goal continues to pursue a westward flight for the airport, preferably a connection to Denver, Colorado, or Phoenix, Arizona. The city plans to continue pursuing federal grants to make it possible. 

Collett added that numbers are up significantly since Sioux City added a flight to Dallas-Fort Worth in May and he believes Sioux City has the capacity to support additional flights. Operating statistics in the airport's year-end report show passenger enplanements jumped from 26,797 in the 2016 fiscal year to 43,624 in the 2017 fiscal year. 

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