Preliminary runway rehab at Yampa Valley Regional Airport begins later in July

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— The contracts have been signed with United Construction and preliminary work leading to the rehabilitation and widening of the runway at Yampa Valley Regional Airport is expected to begin in late July with the help of an additional $1.44 million in funding from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Routt County manager Tom Sullivan said Monday the work scheduled to begin later this month is off-runway and will involve excavation of a new vehicle service road. It will begin at the terminal and run all of the way around the east end of the 10,000-foot runway to the Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting Building.

It’s an improvement to the airport in Hayden, 22 miles west of Steamboat Springs, that was sought by the FAA. The road will eliminate the need for service vehicles to cross the runway in order to reach service buildings on the south side of the runway, Sullivan said.

The major runway work involves tearing up the old asphalt and widening the runway itself by 50 feet but won’t begin until the spring of 2015.

Yampa Valley Regional Airport serves both Moffat and Routt counties and is busiest from December into early April when direct jet flights from cities like Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Washington D.C., Newark, Chicago and Minneapolis land there.

The work of reconstructing the runway was delayed from this summer and fall until April to May 2015 because the FAA was unable to finalize grant funding documents and contracts until June of this year instead of February as anticipated.

The result is that the runway will be closed to commercial and general aviation for about 60 days next spring during major construction.

Airport manager Dave Ruppel met with FAA officials in Denver three times late in 2013 to persuade them to allow his airport to spread the runway project over two calendar years, something the FAA is generally opposed to, Sullivan said in November 2013.

The need for additional federal funding arose in April of this year when the low bid from United of $17.58 million came in 30 percent over the engineering estimate of $13.44 million.

Routt County and the FAA partially closed the gap by significantly scaling back the $3 million vehicle service road, which now, is not scheduled to be paved.

“We’re going to be excavating that road this summer and filling it with asphalt millings,” taken from the runway next spring, Sullivan said. “It’s not going to be paved.”

The county will be required to pay a 10 percent match on the FAA grant that will cover the large majority of the runway work. Another grant of about $2 million from the Colorado Department of Transportation’s aeronautical division in support of the project will require a 5 percent county match.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1

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