Airport project won’t be disruptive

Air traffic into the Cortez Municipal Airport will be periodically grounded this fall by a planned improvement project.

Airport Manager Russ Machen said the 11-week construction upgrade is slated to start after Labor Day. Construction will force airport officials to occasionally halt aircraft from landing at night, he said.

“There will be no complete closures of the airport,” Machen explained. “There are two separate seven-day nighttime closures that will take place.”

Firm dates for the blackouts will be established once the project is awarded to a general contractor. Depending on construction, the airport’s 7,205 feet porous friction runway would most likely be shut down between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m., Machen said.

The construction project, however, is not expected to have a huge impact.

“We only have one scheduled domestic airline flight at night,” Machen said.

Designed by Denver-based Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc., the project’s site plan calls for new paved taxiway shoulders, improvements to the general aviation apron and relocation of a current vehicle service road. The Federal Aviation Administration recommended the improvement project, Machen said.

Plans call for 20-foot shoulders to be added to the current 50-feet wide taxiway. Machen said the shoulders would only serve to assist with snow removal and erosion control efforts. The project also involves crack repair and repaving of the aviation apron, and relocation of a FAA maintenance vehicle service road for safety issues, Machen said.

Officials declined to release budget proposals for the project, citing construction bids due July 31. The project is scheduled for completion in November.

Cheyenne, Wyoming-based Great Lakes Airlines services Cortez with daily flights to and from Denver.