Rifle airport work means delays for drivers | PostIndependent.com

Rifle airport work means delays for drivers

Heidi Rice
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Special to the Post IndependentMotorists wanting to avoid delays are being urged to use Interstate 70 instead of traveling down Airport Road if trying to get to CMC. The construction is part of an improvement project to the Garfield County Regional Airport and the second phase is expected to last through November

RIFLE, Colorado – If you want to get there on time, take the highway.

That’s the message being put out while the second phase of the Garfield County Regional Airport construction is underway, causing some delays on County Road 319 leading to the airport, which is located east of Rifle.

The $33 million project will improve the grade of the airport’s runway, as well as expand the safety areas surrounding the runway. The extension will add between 650 to 1,000 feet of safety area off the end of the runway. The added space will give pilots extra room should they overshoot the runway or need extra room to stop, according to Brian Condie, airport manager.

Right now we’ve moving a lot of dirt on County Road 319,” Condie said. “For the new taxiway, we have to get the dirt to the right elevation. We’re relocating it from the south side of the road to the north side to build up the area.”

The first phase of the expansion project began in June 2008 and was completed last fall. The second phase started in July 2009 and is expected to last through November.

While the airport will not be closed this year, it will be closed from April to November in 2010.

“In the third year [2010], we’ll rip out the runway and redesign it,” Condie said.

Drivers trying to get to Colorado Mountain College’s West Garfield Campus are urged to use Interstate 70 and exit 94 instead of traveling along Airport Road, where there are currently delays up to 15 minutes, Monday through Friday and some Saturdays.

“If you need to be there on time – take the highway,” Condie advised. “If you have to take the county road, go the speed limit – 35 miles per hour. There are sheriff’s officers out there.”

Approximately 90 percent of the funding for the airport runway improvement project is being provided by the FAA and another 5 percent by the state, according to County Manager Ed Green. The county is paying a little less than $2 million. PRT Consulting out of Denver are the engineers on the job. The entire project is expected to be complete sometime between 2011 and 2013.

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