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JRA purchasing two passenger-boarding bridges

by CHRIS OLSON

Posted on 5/13/2016

The Jamestown Regional Airport Authority approved purchasing two used passenger-boarding bridges Wednesday, devices that will provide shelter from the elements for passengers going to and from the terminal.

Airport Authority Chairman Jim Boyd said this item has been "a pet project" of his for a long time. He said the passenger-boarding bridges will be good for all passengers, but especially those with limited mobility issues.

"This (getting a passenger-boarding bridge) has been in our strategic plan, but it's a low priority from the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) standpoint," he said.

The Jamestown Regional Airport submitted a successful bid of $32,000 in April for the bridges from Minot International Airport, according to Jamestown Regional Airport Manager Sam Seafeldt.

Seafeldt said the passenger-boarding bridges will be in Jamestown before the end of May. The airport will only use one of the bridges and it won't be in service until early fall. The second one may ultimately be sold or used for parts when needed to support the first one.

A passenger-boarding bridge is a device that provides a covered walkway between an airport terminal and a commercial passenger airplane. The device can adjust to different heights.

The authority also approved seeking 50 percent funding from the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission to help with the cost of the two bridges.

"The North Dakota Aeronautics Commission has never funded a Jetway (brand name of a passenger-boarding bridge) bridge project for anyone," Seafeldt said.

Even if the Aeronautics Commission doesn't provide the funding, Seafeldt said the Airport Authority is committed to purchasing the two bridges. He said the authority has up to two years to find additional funding or it could use budget reserves to pay for the passenger-boarding bridges.

Seafeldt said the authority had also applied to the Aeronautics Commission for 90 percent funding to rebuild and pave the west taxilane at the airport, a project with a cost of $180,000.

He said the Aeronautics Commission offered to fund the project at 70 percent, which would have tripled the Airport Authority's cost. The Airport Authority declined the funding for the west taxilane.

The Airport Authority also approved having Schumacher Construction in Jamestown start foundation work with a cost of $8,000 to prepare the area at the rotunda. The rotunda is the area where the passenger-boarding bridge will be anchored just outside the airport terminal building. Steve Aldinger, project engineer with Interstate Engineering, said once Schumacher has completed the foundation work, the new concrete will need 28 days to cure before any more work could take place in the area.

Aldinger said a 24-foot-long enclosure will have to be built to connect the terminal building to the passenger-boarding bridge. The enclosure will cost about $30,000.

Transporting, disassembling and transporting the bridges will cost up to $20,000 each. Keith Veil, Airport Authority member, said he thinks he can get that cost down. The authority approved spending up to $20,000 to relocate one passenger-boarding bridge, and authorized Veil and Seafeldt to see if they can get the transportation cost lowered.

Boyd said if another airport doesn't want the second passenger-boarding bridge, the Airport Authority could take the usable systems and parts from the second bridge and leave the rest to be demolished when the old Minot terminal building is torn down.

Seafeldt said the authority has an offer from an Indianapolis company to buy the second passenger-boarding bridge for $8,500. The Indianapolis company would have its own transportation for the bridge from Minot.

colson@jamestownsun.com | (701) 952-8454