Terminal project takes off

Airport expansion should double facility size by ski season

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Construction crews working on the terminal expansion at Yampa Valley Regional Airport have been putting in long hours to take advantage of an unusually dry May.

"It's an aggressive schedule," YVRA spokeswoman Ann Copeland said Tuesday. "They've been starting work at 7 a.m. and continuing until 8 p.m."

The goal of the terminal expansion is to double the size of the existing terminal in time for 2006-07 ski season jet flights, which begin Dec. 14. When complete, the additional 23,500 square feet will be used to create significantly larger passenger waiting areas, new ticket counters and snack bar seating on the same level as the passenger waiting areas. The project, which represents Phase 2 of a three-stage terminal expansion, also includes expanded aircraft parking aprons that can handle heavy Boeing 757 aircraft.

Contractors working on the project include Connell Resources and TCD, Copeland said. Copeland is the manager of terminal and landside operations at the commercial airport west of Steamboat Springs.

Connell is in charge of paving and concrete work. The foundation and footers for the new building were just completed, Copeland said, allowing TCD to begin building the structure.

This summer's work is the continuation of Phase 2, which began last summer. The project was postponed by delays in the receipt of federal grants, which cover the majority of the construction expense. The cost of Phase 2 is about $13.6 million.

To accommodate the weight of Boeing 757s, Connell excavated the aircraft ramp expansion to a depth of 4 feet and installed a layer of base material. That was followed by 9 inches of asphalt and topped with 13 inches of concrete.

Eventually, Phase 3 of the terminal expansion will enlarge the baggage claim area, add a second baggage carousel and possibly include a more advanced method of handling vacationers' ski bags.

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