The Duluth Airport Authority (DAA) celebrated the conclusion of the Sky Harbor Airport runway realignment and environmental mitigation project with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday.
Located on Park Point between Lake Superior and the Duluth Harbor, the Sky Harbor Airport features a paved runway and two water runways, accommodating amphibious, float and wheeled aircraft. Known as “The People’s Airport,” Sky Harbor is a public general aviation airport popular with local recreational fliers and visitors to the area.
The runway realignment project began due to the concerning encroachment of an old-growth forest into the approach path of the paved runway. An environmental assessment was conducted in 2010 to determine the best solution for the coexistence of the airport, surrounding landscape and community. Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc. developed plans for the project.
The newly paved, 2,600 foot long runway features LED lights along the runway and a full-length parallel taxiway. It was constructed to coexist alongside environmental efforts to protect the old-growth forest and native plants, remove 10 acres of invasive species, and enhance nearby aquatic habitat.
Primarily funded by the Federal Aviation Administration, the project cost an estimated $13.2 million, covering planning, environmental mitigation, permitting, design, and construction expenses.
“This project is celebrated as a success story in our community,” said DAA Executive Director Tom Werner. “We were happy to work alongside our agency partners and the community to develop a safe state-of-the-art facility that meets the long-term needs of the community, environment and aviation.”