It’s been a busy off-season at the Telluride Regional Airport. Typically, TEX is open for aviation in the spring, but not right now as several airport projects are in the works, according to Airport Manager Rich Nuttall.
“Usually we’re open, but it’s very slow,” Nuttall said. “(This year) we have all these things happening in the next two and a half months.”
The airport closed April 3 and will remain that way until June 23, according to a Colorado Flights Alliance news release.
The projects on the slate include reconstruction of the aircraft apron and taxiway, terminal improvements, and seal coat and engineered material arresting system (EMAS) work.
The apron and taxiway project started earlier this month, shortly after the airport closure, and is moving right along, Nuttall said.
“The apron project is going really fine,” he said. “The weather’s been really great here. That (project) is on schedule.”
Two grants — a 90 percent Federal Aviation Association grant and $250,000 grant from the Colorado Division of Aeronautics — are being used to fund the $6.7 million apron project. The remainder of the costs are covered by the airport. Reams Construction Co. of Naturita is the contractor for the project.
The terminal projects haven’t started just yet. Permits and contract details are being ironed out.
San Miguel County issued a development permit, but a building permit still needs to be obtained, Nuttall said.
The contractor’s contract is being finalized as well.
Work will be done to both the general and commercial aviation terminals. A 500- to 700-square-foot addition will increase the lounge area, while the size of the TSA holding area will be increased as well, Nuttall said.
He said work will begin as soon as possible, and that the completion date for all major work is still the end of June, at this time.
“(The terminal improvements) are to upgrade to fill our current demands,” he said. “…We hope to be at a point where we can operate and finish up any little details.”
The projected cost for the upcoming terminal work is just over $1 million, which the airport has budgeted for.
He added that this year’s terminal improvements are not part of the airport’s long-term, master plan, which eventually will build two, brand new general aviation and commercial terminals. There is not a specific timeline at the moment for the new terminals.
The seal coating and EMAS work will be completed within two to three weeks of starting, Nuttall said. SealCo Inc. of Montrose was awarded the contract for the seal coating work; the company was the only bidder with a submission of just over $399,000. The airport budgeted $400,000 for the project.
EMAS work will cost $85,000 and will be completed by airport staff, Nuttall said. The price is for materials and supervision.
EMAS “uses crushable material placed at the end of a runway to stop an aircraft that overruns the runway. The tires of the aircraft sink into the lightweight material and the aircraft is decelerated as it rolls through the material,” according to an EMAS fact sheet on the FAA official website (www.faa.gov).
Using EMAS improves airport’s runway safety areas, which are usually 500 feet wide and extend 1,000 feet beyond a runway, the fact sheet outlines.
Other than brick-and-mortar work, the airport is in the process of getting a third “C” approach approved by the FAA. The new approach allows larger aircraft to land at lower minimums, Nuttall said.
The approach is a special approach, which requires specific pilot training.
Great Lakes Airlines resumed commercial air service to TEX last December, and averages 10 flights per week to Denver International Airport, according to Matt Skinner, chief operating officer of the alliance. There are plans to add flights next winter.
“I just want people to be aware that commercial service (Great Lakes) will resume operating as soon as the airport reopens,” Skinner said in March, when the airport closing date was announced by the alliance.
Original article can be found here: http://www.telluridenews.com