Wednesday, August 9, 2000
Steamboat Springs Pilots were circling their aircraft above the Steamboat Springs Airport just before 9 a.m. Tuesday, each hoping to be the first plane to land on the newly reopened airport.
The local airport had been closed for the last month to accommodate a major runway overlay project.
"What we've ended up with here is a fantastic product," airport manager Matt Grow said. "I couldn't be more happy with the results. It's nice and level, and I know the pilots will be appreciative."
Connell Resources was able to work within stringent FAA limits and finished on time, he added.
"We opened on time and under budget, " Grow said. "I wish we could've opened earlier, rather than just on time, because we displaced so many aircraft, and that's such an inconvenience for those people."
Although final numbers have not yet been tallied, Grow said that on asphalt alone the project finished $80,000 under budget.
"There are a few items that haven't added up yet, but the quantity estimate was overestimated early on. That's how we were able to end up under," he said.
The overlay project, which is being paid for by a $1.14 million FAA grant and $114,000 from the city of Steamboat Springs, began on July 10.
The aspects of the project that have actually been finished only represent the first scheduled phase of the entire overlay.
Cracks have been sealed, rough sections of the runway have been replaced, 3 inches of asphalt have been applied and runway lights have been raised.
The runway can't be grooved until the new asphalt has had 30 days to cure, so next month it will be finished with perpendicular grooving.
The grooves facilitate snow melting and drainage from the runway, which in turn helps plane brake, Grow said.
When the grooving is complete, final paint markings can be applied, which will complete the second phase of the project.
At that point, Grow will know for sure where the project ended up in terms of the budget.
Overlay projects of this kind are funded by the FAA approximately every 10 years, but Grow said if it's well taken care of, the new runway could last for 15 to 20 years.
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