GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Design is underway for Grand Junction Regional Airport's new runway is underway and the design team held their first meeting since that phase began.
"The goal is to replace the existing runway without impacting users" said Ryan Hayes, the project manager from Mead & Hunt, a consulting service.
To do that, the replacement runway will be built parallel to the existing runway, then turning the existing runway into the taxi way. That will avoid a complete six month shut down of the airport, which board members say would hurt the local economy.
"We've got some real significant businesses out there. Very valuable for this community that are silent and out of sight." said Mark Achen, the interim Airport Authority Board Director at GJT.
Achen says over 400 people work at companies like West Star Aviation or are employed because of the number of refuel stops at the airport, like from the Navy.
The project was needed because complete reconstruction of the existing runway will be needed anway. That, and it fails to meet some FAA design standards.
"That doesn't mean it's not safe, it just means, it's not as flat as it could be before some new FAA design standards." said Hayes.
The cost is estimated between $80-$120 million and could take up to a decade to complete. Designers say that's a conservative estimate.
"We get started on this project started as a runway project, we expect the [Federal Aviation Administration] to do some creative financing to make this project happen a little faster as opposed to slower."
Next summer, construction will start on drainage ditches to the north of the runway and the relocation of 27 1/4 Rd near the end of Summer 2018. Runway construction is slated for 2020.