Yampa Valley Regional Airport to pause air service in 2014 for repairs

— The runway at Yampa Valley Regional Airport in Hayden will be closed for about 60 days during spring 2014.

After ski season flights stop in April, the asphalt surface will undergo resurfacing that is required about every 10 years.

“It’s a couple of years past the 10-year mark,” said Airport Manager Dave Ruppel. “We took really good care of it.”

Just like with roadways, Ruppel said, sometimes runway closures are necessary to repair asphalt surfaces.

The closure means all air services will be suspended for the duration of the work on the runway. Ruppel said there is other asphalt work that needs to be done, but the hope is to have the runway operational again for the June uptick in flight traffic.

This past shoulder season, there only was one flight to Denver per day from YVRA. Traditionally, Ruppel said, there have been two flights out of YVRA per day during the same time period.

The airport will remain open during the runway closure.

“We’ll continue to administratively operate.” Ruppel said. “There’s still other things we need to work on as an airport.”

The airport discovered last month that the Federal Aviation Administration had found the discretionary funds to complete the project, he said.

Now begins the task of communicating with those who use the airport about the need to make alternative plans. That includes those who have private aircraft at YVRA.

In addition to the runway, Ruppel said, asphalt work will be done on connectors and a section of aircraft parking ramp, and a new vehicle service road will be constructed, which the FAA wants airports to have to keep vehicles out of the aircraft movement area.

“We’re trying to get them all done at the same time,” he said. “You get some economies of scale.”

Aircraft traffic only will cease during the runway resurfacing but can continue through the other repairs and construction.

“We of course regret the inconvenience, but the reality is it’s something we have to do to maintain that runway in a good condition,” Ruppel said.

To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206 or email mschrantz@SteamboatToday.com

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