Airport project begins in April |

Airport project begins in April

Construction crews and heavy equipment operators will soon be working 24 hours a day at Sardy Field to complete a taxiway relocation project.

Beginning April 5, crews will be increasing the distance between the taxiway and the runway from 221 feet of separation to 320 feet. It is the first of six phases of taxiway renovation implemented to bring the airport in line with Federal Aviation Administration standards for aircraft with wingspans of 95 feet.

Many such jets land at the airport, most prominently the United Express BA 146 Aircraft.

Airport director Jim Elwood said much of the work will be unobtrusive to passengers, occurring between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m., when the airport is closed. Regular airport operations will not be impacted, he added.

Increasing the distance between the taxiway and the runway ensures greater passenger safety by greatly decreasing the risk of a collision, Elwood said.

The renovations are part of a project approved years ago, he said, and is unrelated to the draft of the county’s 20-year airport master plan, which is yet to be approved.

“You’ll see a lot of activity day and night at the Aspen end of the runway, and we want to make sure the public understands that this project is part of [a] development project approved for the airport several years ago,” Elwood said.

“This is not the extension of the runway for take-off only discussed in the yet-to-be-approved master plan.”

The current phase of construction is expected to last four months. The entire six-phase project is expected to be completed by 2007.

The FAA and the state are paying for all but 2 percent of the estimated $35 million cost.

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