Airport will be closed 40 days in spring


— Yampa Valley Regional Airport near Hayden will be closed for 40 days this spring beginning May 5 while construction crews complete a $4 million runway overlay.

"We picked mud season because we felt it was the slowest month that would have the least impact," Airport Manager Jim Parker said.

YVRA is the only commercial airport serving Northwest Colorado. The construction is scheduled to be complete by June 13. During 2002, Air Wisconsin, flying as United Express, was the only commercial carrier serving the airport with three daily flights, including one on a 50-passenger regional jet.

United Express brought 1,617 passengers here in May and 2,077 during the full month of June.

Departing planes were 45 percent full in May and 57 percent full in June.

Connell Resources has the contract to put a fresh layer of asphalt on the runway. Parker said airport runways typically need a major overlay every 10 to 15 years.

"It will be a tight schedule, but Connell is fully prepared to begin on May 5," Parker said.

Of the $4 million construction cost, 90 percent is being borne by the Federal Aviation Administration in the form of grants, Parker said. The county must contribute a 10 percent match.

YVRA was also without commercial service because of construction in August 2001. Although the runway wasn't technically closed, officials of the only airline serving the airport that summer declined to operate during the work.

The effective length of the runway was reduced from 10,000 feet to 5,100 feet while the commercial aviation taxiway at the airport was rehabilitated.

Great Lakes Aviation struggled to serve YVRA reliably with Brasilia turboprops during the summer of 2001. Even with the runway at full length, they had a hard time meeting weight restrictions for the aircraft.

Connell Resources was also the contractor for the $1.4 million taxiway project in 2001.


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