MoCo airport advisory board

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The master plan for overhauling the Craig/Moffat County Airport is almost ready for takeoff.

Jim Sirhall of the Airport Development Group presented the master plan to the Moffat County Board of Commissioners and the Airport Advisory Board during meetings at the Moffat County Courthouse Tuesday. The entire plan was six inches thick.

The two biggest renovations will be the addition of a full-length parallel taxiway, and a runway extension of 7,500 feet. More hangars, access taxiways, and auto parking will be added.

The plan's estimated cost is $121,330. Thanks to new changes in funding, the federal government will pay for 95 percent of that. The remaining cost could be covered by loans from the state.

The runway extension would enable larger planes to use the airport, Sirhall said. However, the Airport Advisory Board prioritized a parallel taxiway ahead of an extended runway, Gena Hinkemeyer, assistant to the commissioners, said.

A shorter runway will limit the amount of fuel a plane can carry. Larger planes can always use nearby Yampa Valley Regional Airport, Sirhall said.

The runway and taxiway expansions will affect wetlands near the airport, so the next item on Sirhall's agenda is to run an environmental assessment and develop a wetland mitigation plan. Then he intends to refine the airport development schedule and work on the capital improvement plan.

About 2,500 operations are performed at the airport annually. One operation includes either taking off of landing. That number has steadily declined since the mid-1980s, when daily air freight and passenger flights accounted for 25,000 operations annually. Sirhall estimates the overhaul could increase airport operations to 8,500 annually.

Additional improvements call for a security fence and gates to be erected between the parking lot and airfield to limit airside access. Sirhall recommended fuel storage be upgraded, and mentioned the possibility of industrial park development.

Rob Gebhart can be reached at 824-7031 or by e-mail at rgebhart@craigdailypress.com.

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