Hayden airport now has enough funds to finance expansion after $1.5M grant | SteamboatToday.com

Hayden airport now has enough funds to finance expansion after $1.5M grant

Contractor awarded bid to begin construction

A plow clears snow Saturday at Yampa Valley Regional Airport in 2018. On Friday, the airport received a $1.5 million federal grant to finance a $3.3 million terminal expansion, set to break ground in the spring.
File photo/Matt Stensland

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The Yampa Valley Regional Airport received a $1.5 million federal grant Friday to help pay for a terminal expansion, scheduled to begin this spring.

The airport in Hayden was one of two in Colorado awarded the grant, according to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao. In a news release Friday, Chao said the funding should help airports handle an influx of passengers.  

“The robust economy is enabling more passengers to travel by air so (the Trump Administration) is investing billions of dollars in America’s airports which will address safer airport operations, fewer airport delays, and greater ease of travel for air travelers,” Chao said in the news release.

With the addition of the federal funding, the airport now has the money to finance the $3.3 million expansion project, according to Booth. He said the new space will reduce congestion, increase capacity and improve the flow of travelers getting to their planes.

A 2017 report identified congestion as one of the main problems during peak periods in the winter and summer, according to Booth, particularly on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Those are the airport’s busiest days, he said, when an average of 2,000 people daily pass through the terminal.

In July, the airport received a $2.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation as part of its Airport Improvement Program, with about $1.6 million of those funds dedicated for the terminal expansion according to Booth. The airport will cover about 5% of the project costs, he added, or about $165,000. 

Officials had hoped to break ground this summer, but they had problems negotiating a price with the sole contractor that placed a bid. 

The contractor, Grand Junction-based FCI Constructors, has since lowered its bid, according to Booth. On Tuesday, he confirmed FCI would be awarded the contract and oversee construction. 

FCI has completed construction projects at two Colorado airports, according to the company’s website. Those include the Denver International Airport and the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport. Such experience comes in handy when working with the Federal Aviation Administration, which enforces strict rules on construction companies, Booth said. 

Dave Ash, project manager with FCI, said his company will not break ground on the terminal expansion until April or May. For now, the focus is on ordering materials such as steel and wood to avoid any future price hikes.  

“That’s the advantage of knowing we have a contractor ready to go and funding ready to go,” Booth said. 

The goal is to finish construction before next year’s winter season, he added. The expansion will add a seventh gate to the terminal and increase overall seating capacity by 120 seats. 

The expansion also will give more pathways for people to move throughout the terminal and allow the airport to accommodate additional flights or add another airline to its roster. Currently, five airlines operate out of the airport, including Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, United Airlines and JetBlue.  

On Dec. 2, the airport plans to unveil a new website, which Booth said will be more user-friendly, along with a new logo and branding. People cannot purchase plane tickets on the website, but it offers travel information such as flight schedules and travel tips. 

To reach Derek Maiolo, call 970-871-4247, email dmaiolo@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @derek_maiolo.

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