Resort and community leaders celebrated a groundbreaking at Yampa Valley Regional Airport this week that wasn't always a sure thing.
Contractors this week will begin a paving project at the airport terminal that will expand the parking ramp for the largest aircraft that flies into the valley -- the Boeing 757 -- while also improving road access and automobile parking.
Earlier this year, the county considered delaying the work because the only bid on the project was almost $2 million over budget.
The paving work is the first portion of work comprising the second phase of a major terminal expansion project. An expanded baggage and check-in area opened in November 2004.
This summer's paving will lead to more glamorous developments next summer, when the passenger waiting and concessions areas will be expanded.
Connell Resources worked with county officials to trim its paving bid to $8.14 million.
Even though that still was higher than the $7.5 million estimated by engineers, the county got some financial relief when a bid for next summer's terminal expansion from TCD came in $562,000 under the $6.08 million budget.
"I feel a lot better about Phase Three now that we know the (Phase Two) terminal costs," Routt County Manager Tom Sullivan said earlier this month.
He expects the final cost of the three phases of the airport expansion project to be between $17 million and $18 million, which will be assisted by millions of dollars in federal grants.
When Phase Two finally is complete, Phase Three of the project will add a baggage carousel to the terminal and possibly a more modern way of handling vacationers' ski bags.