Airport officials found welcome relief this week in the form of a terminal expansion bid that was more than $500,000 less than what their architect estimated.
The airport commission rec--ommended Thursday night that the Routt County Board of Commissioners accept TCD's low bid of about $5.5 million for the terminal expansion project. That compares with the architect's estimate of about $6.1 million to do the job.
The latest terminal project will expand the passenger waiting area and allow concessions to be moved to the airport terminal's main level. Now, ski season airline passengers often overflow the seating area where they wait for their flights to board after going through security.
The work, however, will not begin until 2006, with completion scheduled for Dec. 1, 2006.
The bid also is expected to ease the pain of last week's contract award for the other half of the Phase 2 expansion at Yampa Valley Regional Airport. The cost to expand the aircraft parking ramp and vehicle parking lots and build a new access road is going to be $8.14 million, about $640,000 more than originally estimated.
Routt County will pay a small fraction of the bill, thanks to federal grants, but the unexpected relief on the terminal phase of the expansion was greeted with enthusiasm.
County Com--missioner Dan Ellison said he and the other commissioners had no inkling last week that they would shave $500,000 off the terminal construction estimate when they gave the go-ahead to award the $8.14 million paving contract to Connell Resources.
"It certainly is going to help us get this airport on the same level with other comparable airports in the central part of the state," Ellison said.
The two aspects of the Phase 2 expansion at YVRA were expected to go forward together this summer. A delay in Federal Aviation Administration grants for the terminal work pushed that project off a year.
Now, the bulk of the paving and road work will be completed this summer to prepare for the terminal expansion next summer.
County Manager Tom Sulli--van told airport commissioners that he remains confident that federal grants the airport is in line for, coupled with revenue from passenger facility charges and rental income at the airport, will be sufficient to fund Phase 3 of the airport expansion in 2007. That work will expand the current baggage claim area.
"I feel a lot better about Phase 3 now that we know the (Phase 2) terminal costs," Sullivan said.
He expects the final cost of the three phases of the airport expansion project to be between $17 million and $18 million. With the help of considerable federal grants, the spread between the long-held estimate of $17 million and the possibility of $18 million is an amount the county can afford to finance, Sullivan said.
Connell Resources was the sole bidder on last week's paving and road contract. However, there were two bidders on the terminal portion of the job. FCI Con--structors of Longmont bid the work at more than $6.8 million.
Airport Commission Chair--man Marty Kolonel said the completion of Phase 2 is important to the local economy.
"This thing is going to happen next year, and I think it's fantastic. Our community desperately needs it to be competitive," Kolonel said.
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