New Williston airport hits major snag

By  | 

WILLISTON, N.D. - Work on the new Williston Basin International Airport has hit a major snag.

Williston City Commissioners voted Thursday in a special meeting to fire the contractor working on the taxiway for the new airport. Airport Director Anthony Dudas and City Administrator David Tuan voiced their concerns over numerous project delays by the contracting company, JM Marschuetz.

Tuan says the project is now 89 days behind schedule. Representatives from Ulteig Engineering, hired to oversee the contract and its completion, were also concerned about delays. Roger Leonard with Ulteig says the taxiway is only 13-percent complete. The original timeline had the taxiway scheduled for completion this November, but the contractor pushed the completion date back to September of 2019. The commission determined that J.M. Marshuetz was in breach of contract and unanimously voted to part ways.

"We're beyond the point of no return. Coming up with an alternative will cost us more time than we have. At this point, we feel the timing of this decision is critical and if we don't decide now we might lose that opportunity to get this project back on schedule," said Tuan.

"Hearing all that, it sounds like if we stay the course, we will fail," said Williston Mayor Howard Klug.

The Commission voted unanimously to allow Tuan to begin negotiations with the next lowest bidder, Northern Improvement, to take over that aspect of the project. That process will involve the city attorney working with the bonding company to sort out terms of payment and and ensure the excess cost is covered by the performance and payment bond which was paid for by the original contractor as part of the bid requirement.

City of Williston's Communications Strategist, Andrea Duntz, says with the change in contractor, the city is looking to stay on track with it's November completion date for the taxiway.