US Department of Transportation offers about $47.5M for new Newtok airport, two other Alaska airport projects

***ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND SEPT. 15-16 **FILE ** Newtok, Alaska is shown on Wednesday, May 24,...
Newtok, Alaska is shown on Wednesday, May 24, 2006, where the eroding bank along the Ninglick River has long been a problem for the village 480 miles west of Anchorage. Residents of the eroded coastal village of Newtok have begun to build a new community on higher ground on a hilly area called Mertarvik on Nelson Island, Alaska. (AP Photo/Al Grillo)(AL Grillo | AP)
Published: Apr. 1, 2021 at 11:33 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Residents of Newtok can look forward to a new airport by 2023 after federal funds were awarded through the Airport Improvement Program. Two additional Alaskan airports will also receive funds for facility enhancements.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration issued a press release Thursday announcing the approval of more than $627.7 million in infrastructure and safety projects through the AIP’s fiscal year 2021. The AIP project will offer 499 grants to 390 airports in 39 states, Puerto Rico and the Federated States of Micronesia.

“Airports serve as a lifeline for communities across the nation,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg. “Modernizing our infrastructure in a way that creates jobs, ensures safety, combats climate change, and fosters equity is a top priority for the Biden-Harris Administration. These Airport Improvement grants will help airports across the country better serve their communities.”

The Newtok Airport received a grant of more than $21.1 million to construct a new replacement airport. The AIP also approved grants for Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, approximately $25.5 million, and Kenai Municipal Airport, approximately $826,000, for various rehabilitation projects.

“These grants are an investment in safety and continued innovation,” said FAA Administrator Steve Dickson. “Every airport in every community plays a vital role in our air transportation system.”

The Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities initiated the Newtok Airport Relocation Project in July 2018 because the ground surrounding the airport and village is eroding. Both the airport and community will relocate to higher ground, according to the release.

“The residents depend solely on aviation to transport people, goods, mail, medicine and other essential services,” the release said. The new airport will be located one mile from the village.

The DOT&PF allocated $8 million for the construction project in 2019.

After completing design plans, public hearings, and environmental studies throughout 2019 and 2020, construction was scheduled to begin in February.

Alaska’s News Source was unable to get a comment from DOT&PF officials about the project’s progress before publishing this article.

The project plan said the new airport will include a main runway and taxiway. As well as an aircraft parking apron, two equipment storage buildings, an access road and a supporting utility infrastructure.

“The project is critical to the airport and to the village of Newtok, which is home to an Alaska Native community of 374 residents,” the FAA said.

The replacement airport project and the relocation of village residents are scheduled for completion in 2023.

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