Hayden At least 40 travelers had to drive to Denver Friday to catch airline flights because of rainy weather that kept the Yampa Valley Regional Airport closed for most of the day.
The airport, which was scheduled to be closed Wednesday and Thursday for a runway painting project, remained closed because of the weather's interference with the painting, airport Aviation Director Jim C. Parker said Friday afternoon.
"The weather forecast changed on us," a frustrated Parker said. "The weather was supposed to be nice. This storm was not supposed to hit until Friday."
The airport notified airlines about a month ago that the airport would be closed Wednesday and Thursday so the runway's markings could be repainted. The airport was scheduled to be back in business at 8 p.m. Thursday.
"The rain has caused quite a few problems," Parker said. "We did a little painting on Wednesday. None on Thursday. Today, we fought showers off and on."
Because the work wasn't completed, the airport had to cancel the Thursday night flight and five flights on Friday.
An airport crew was able to paint enough of the runway's markings on Friday so the airport could open the runway at about 3:30 p.m., Parker said.
"The Friday night flight is still scheduled," Parker said. "I hope it stays that way. I am supposed to fly out on that flight Saturday morning."
Opening the runway Friday night allowed the late flight to arrive so the plane is here for today's early flight.
Crews have been able to repaint the center line and runway numbers, he said.
"Right now, we have the minimum amount needed for aircraft to land," he said.
Because of the weather, crews were unable to paint the edge of the runway as well as aviation markers, Parker said.
The aviation markers on the runway are used by pilots to land aircraft successfully when visibility is a problem, he said.
Parker is hopeful the weather will cooperate so the airport can remain operational until the painting is finished.
"As long as we have good visibility, the aircraft can get in with no problem," he said. "With clear visibility, we should be able to operate until we can finish the painting."
With the airport unable to paint the runway, travelers scheduled to fly Friday had to make other plans, Parker said.
"We had 40 passengers take the Alpine Taxi to Denver International Airport to catch flights," he said. "There were probably other travelers who made other arrangements."
Parker is hopeful the airport can finish painting the runway by the end of next week.
"We are going to re-evaluate this on Monday," he said. "We don't want to fight the weather again like we have the past couple of days."
Parker is hoping for clear and sunny weather for next week.
"If it is hot and sunny, we can paint the runway without having to close it," he said. "We can paint between flights."
The airport paints the runway about every two years because of rubber marks left by tires as planes come to a stop.
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