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Airport project all about precision

Aspen Times writer
A GPS guided grader, left, levels a parcel of land at Sardy Field for a new taxiway Wednesday morning April 28, 2004. The grader uses the GPS system to keep the blade level and at the proper altitiude and atittude. Aspen Times photo/Paul Conrad.
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The construction company working at the Aspen airport has brought in some high-tech gadgets to help guarantee Federal Aviation Administration-mandated precision.

Kiewit Western crews are increasing the separation between the runway and taxiway at the Buttermilk end of the airport from 221 feet to 320 feet. They are also installing a new service road.

Workers are using a satellite-guided bulldozer and grader. The two machines are linked up to satellites and use an elaborate global positioning system that can locate the machine to within several hundredths of an inch.

This allows the machine to quickly and precisely level out earth and set FAA-mandated grading of the runway and taxiway, said Kiewit project manager Chris Barker.

“It’s like putting [the machine] on auto pilot,” he said. “It helps our efficiency and precision by eliminating the need for standard ground servers.”

Increasing the distance between the taxiway and the runway ensures greater safety by decreasing the risk of a collision. The FAA-mandated project runs at a cost of approximately $7 million, according to airport officials.


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