Maintenance work to start on airport runway
Maintenance work on the runway at the Eagle County Regional Airport’s runaway is scheduled to begin next month.
“There isn’t any danger on the runway, just routine maintenance that we need to do,” says Obid Seifers, operations manager at the airport.
Water seeping through cracks in the pavement has prompted Seifers to order about 75,000 linear feet of cracks in the runway’s asphalt to be sealed, at an estimated cost of about $50,000, he says.
“There are no holes on the runway,” he says. “These cracks occur naturally in asphalt. It’s the normal cracking that goes along with asphalt as it ages.”
In March, when the Federal Aviation Administration conducted its annual inspection of the airport, the airport received high marks, Seifers says.
“They found no problems on the runway,” he says.
But after Mark Davidson, the airport’s previous director, left in May, Eagle County Administrator Jack Ingstad met with airport staff and was told of drainage problems and cracks in the runway, Ingstad says.
“They said I needed to focus attention on maintenance work,” Ingstad says. “The previous airport people neglected to do the proper maintenance of the runway.”
When the runway’s $5 million overlay was completed in 2000, Ingstad says, there was a dispute between the engineer and the contractor over the work performed.
“The contractor was brought back to do some grinding of the runway to make it even for FAA requirements,” Ingstad says.
Airport officials didn’t ask the county for additional money, however, to properly drain one side of the runway, Ingstad says.
“On one side, we put the proper drainage; what happened was that airport authorities decided not to spend the money,” he says.
Ingstad says airport officials are currently assessing the extent of the problem.
Seifers says maintenance on the runway should have started in 2001 and continued every year.
“But it isn’t unusual for some airports to go a couple years without doing any sealing,” he says. “The first two years after new pavement has been laid, you usually don’t have any cracking.”
Flexible pavement expands and contracts causing cracks, Seifers says, and the pavement also dries out when it loses its oils.
“We want to seal the cracks to prevent more loss of oil,” he says. “But we certainly aren’t running an unsafe operation.”
Seifers says work on the runway will start in late-August or early-September, the prime time to work on asphalt. Operations at the airport shouldn’t be affected by the repairs, he said.
“The airport’s runway isn’t bad today, but it could be bad in the future if we don’t do the maintenance work needed,” Ingstad said.
Veronica Whitney can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 454, or at email@example.com.