Hayden approves funds for airport contribution | SteamboatToday.com

Hayden approves funds for airport contribution

— Hayden is doing its part to make the skies a little friendlier and safer.

The Hayden Town Board on Thursday decided to set aside $5,000 in next year’s budget as its local contribution to a $20 million air traffic monitoring upgrade project in Colorado. Local governments and organizations are pledging about $500,000 for the project, and the state is paying the rest.

The upgrades to the monitoring system could allow for more flights to arrive and depart at Yampa Valley Regional Airport. The project would allow controllers in Denver to better monitor aircraft and eventually would be used by nearly all Colorado mountain airports.

“Part of the problem now is they can’t see into this area,” airport manager Dave Ruppel said.

Aircraft currently cannot be seen below certain altitudes because the mountains block radar beams from Denver.

Controllers, therefore, have to allow for more room between planes in flight. Currently, the airport can have about four planes landing or taking off in an hour. The new system would could allow planes to land or take off every three minutes, Ruppel said.

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Now, planes can get backed up or have to hover in flight before landing at Colorado mountain airports. With the new system, it is estimated $132 million will be saved in plane fuel in the next 15 years.

Construction of the air traffic monitoring system is expected to be complete next year and operational by 2008.

“A lot of people are affected by the economics of the whole thing,” Ruppel said.

The Hayden Town Board also:

Was briefed by Town Manager Russ Martin about creating a committee to look at tax policy and revenue sources for the town;

Heard about forming a group in conjunction with the Hayden School Board — the group potentially would discuss some of the larger community issues such as the behavior of Hayden’s youths;

Awarded the 2006 waste and water project; and

Discussed assignments to various boards and committees.

— To reach Matt Stensland, call 871-4210

or e-mail mstensland@steamboatpilot.com