Aspen airport terminal decision looms for Pitkin County commissioners | AspenTimes.com

Aspen airport terminal decision looms for Pitkin County commissioners

Staff report

Pitkin County is collecting feedback about the four proposed terminals at the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport. Commissioners are scheduled to whittle down the terminal options to two at a Dec. 8 meeting.

The Pitkin County government's effort to solicit public feedback about four terminal options at the airport is winding down.

The county has been collecting opinions from residents through open houses along with its online commenting section at http://www.pitkincountyconnect.com.

County commissioners are scheduled to review the feedback at a Dec. 8 meeting, when they also are expected to determine two final terminal concepts.

In September, county commissioners approved an airport layout plan for the construction of a new terminal as large as 80,000 square feet, a runway upgrade to accommodate larger aircraft and new above-ground parking. It comes with an estimated cost of $145.9 million. County officials have said the Federal Aviation Administration would shoulder most of the cost.

The terminals being considered include a single-story terminal, split-level terminal, nested terminal and two-story terminal.

The two final terminal preferences would be subject to FAA approval and an environmental assessment that would be funded through federal grants.

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County and tourism officials have said the runway improvement is necessary because the airline industry is phasing out of CRJ700s, which currently comprise 95 percent of the airport's commercial traffic.

The FAA has set the airport's wingspan limits to 95 feet. The CRJ700s have a wingspan of 76 feet and 3 inches.

The CRJ700 fleet is projected to be retired by 2025.

Improving the runway by widening it 50 feet and shifting its center line 80 feet to the west would allow wingspans of up to 118 feet, according to FAA guidelines. A small stretch of Owl Creek Road, which is located within a county right of way, also would have to be moved to accommodate the runway.

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