Rifle airport to get $13.5M in federal funds | VailDaily.com

Rifle airport to get $13.5M in federal funds

John Gardner
Rifle, CO Colorado

RIFLE, Colorado ” U.S. Congressman John Salazar announced Tuesday that $13.5 million in federal funding has been allocated to upgrade the runway at the Garfield County Regional Airport in Rifle, Colorado.

The money will fund the second of a three-phase upgrade to the facility. The grant offer will go to the county commissioners Monday.

According to airport manager Brian Condie, the airport was waiting to bid out the expansion project this year to see if these funds were going to be made available. Now that they have been allocated, the bids will go out next week.

“We are good to go with this project,” Condie said.

The second phase of the project is expected to last 200 days and will upgrade the runway safety area to better accommodate jet aircraft at the mountain airport.

“The expansion of the Garfield County Airport is a boon to communities such as Rifle, both to address our transportation needs and for economic development. Congressman Salazar has taken the lead in achieving that overall goal for the area, and we’re grateful for all that he’s done,” said Rifle Mayor Keith Lambert.

Improvements to the airport include expanding the safety area around the runway from 300 feet to 500 feet, and reducing the slope of the runway by lowering the east end approximately seven feet and raising the west end approximately 14 feet. This will reduce the slope to less than 1 percent across the entire 7,000-foot runway.

This year’s work includes moving an estimated 1.8 million cubic yards of dirt and gravel into the new safety area, and at some locations constructing embankments higher than 60 feet.

“I’m glad this funding will enable the Garfield County Regional Airport to prepare for the future and expand its ability to provide safe and efficient air service for pilots and residents in and around Garfield County,” Salazar said. “I’m proud to have supported these efforts, and I will continue to work to provide necessary funding for the projects that will improve our infrastructure and strengthen our economy.”

The first phase cost $3.5 million, the second phase $13.5 million, and the third phase of the project is estimated at $17 million or whatever the remaining costs are. The engineering documents for the third phase are due by November, with bidding for that portion of the project to be available in February 2010.

“We are really excited to get the airport upgraded and are grateful for the funds we are receiving,” Condie said.

Contact John Gardner: 384-9114

jgardner@postindependent.com


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