YVRA seeks funds for runway

Airport applying for grant for improvements

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— Yampa Valley Regional Airport plans to submit an application this week for a $4.5 million grant to make improvements to the airport's lone runway.

This morning, the Routt County Board of Commissioners is expected to sign off on the application, which has been prepared by Jim Parker, the airport's aviation director.

Parker is applying for the grant through the Federal Aviation Administration to make improvements to the airport's runway, which is 10,000 feet long.

The grant would also be used to reimburse the airport for 12 acres of adjacent land that was purchased last year. Parker said the airport is eligible to receive 90 percent, $292,000, of the cost of the land.

Parker is seeking federal dollars for the runway because it needs to be reconstructed because of problems with water.

During the past few summers, water has started to find its way to the surface of the runway.

"I don't want to lose what is there," Parker said of why the runway needs to be reconstructed and resurfaced. "I don't want to see it deteriorate and then fail."

Parker is hopeful the FAA will grant the funds needed for the project, which includes the cost of designing the runway, engineering and construction.

If the airport is awarded the grant later this year, Parker said the airport plans to have the runway reconstructed and resurfaced in May 2003.

If the project is done, it would be the airport's most significant and costliest improvement in about 10 years.

To address the water issue, Parker said the runway would be reconstructed so water could not reach the surface.

Parker said drainage pipes would be installed under the runway to keep water from gathering under the asphalt.

If the grant is awarded, the airport would pay for 10 percent of the cost of the project. Parker said the airport would pay for its share through money it collects with passenger facility fees.

At this point, the airport is not sure how much asphalt is needed to resurface the runway.

The airport has had the runway surveyed and it is also conducting tests. The airport through a series of tests is trying to find out how much weight the surface can hold, he said.

At this point, Parker estimates more than 3 inches of asphalt needs to be added to the runway's surface.

If this is done, the overlay should last for the next 10 to 15 years, Parker said.

The last time the runway was resurfaced was about 10 years ago.

Because of a lack of funding, the drainage issue was not addressed and the entire runway was resurfaced with about 2 inches of asphalt.

"We have maintained the runway over the years," Parker said. "If we don't get the funding, the county will have to make a decision whether to fund the project or postpone it."

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