Hayden now home to many aircraft

Steamboat runway project begins

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— Matthew Grow, the new manager at Steamboat Springs Airport, had a heck of a first day on the job Monday.

For one thing, he saw the start of a million-dollar runway overlay project.

"Considering it's my first day, it's all going pretty well," Grow said.

In preparation for the project, 40 aircraft of various sizes were transferred from the Steamboat airport to Yampa Valley Regional Airport in Hayden over the weekend.

All but two planes are now in Hayden, held down by temporary tie-downs, until the 30-day project in Steamboat is complete. Steamboat serves primarily small, private aircraft.

"We kind of had a mass exodus," Grow said. "We publicized the issue well, so we didn't have any problems moving the planes."

Grow said the folks at YVRA had to borrow some equipment from Steamboat like tie-downs and chains but that was the only glitch in the aircraft transfer.

"And it wasn't really even a glitch," he said. "Besides, I'm sure they're appreciating the business over there."

YVRA officials agreed.

"Yep, so far so good," YVRA Director Jim Parker said. "Everything's going well on our end of it. Haven't heard of any problems at all."

Grow said the overlay project will take about 30 days, which is as long as the city airport has asked YVRA to hold its planes and take its fixed-base operations business.

Parker said there would be no problem hosting the Steamboat aircraft a little longer if the project extends beyond 30 days.

"It'd be a different story if we were in the middle of the ski season, but it won't get to that," he said.

Connell Resources began work on the runway overlay Monday, after the aircraft had cleared the way at the Steamboat airport.

Overlay work will include sealing cracks in the old pavement, cutting out a rough section at the south end of the runway, applying 2 to 3 inches of asphalt, cutting grooves and grading the runway and raising runway lights when the new asphalt is applied.

With public money, the Federal Aviation Administration is paying for most of the runway project. The FAA plans runway overlays approximately once every decade, and the last overlay at Steamboat Springs Airport was done in 1985, previous airport manager Brian Feeney said earlier this year.

City Council approved the overlay project in September of last year, agreeing to pay 10 percent of the cost of the project, or just more than $114,000.

To reach Bonnie Nadzam call 871-4205 or e-mail bnadzam@amigo.net

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