Friday, September 9, 2005

Airport runway closings set for 2006


By PAT MURPHY
Express Staff Writer

Friedman Memorial Airport will be closed twice in 2006 for runway construction, which will interrupt airline service for as long as 17 days in the spring.

Airport Manager Rick Baird told the Airport Authority Tuesday night that the longest closing will be April 24 through May 11. Another closing is scheduled for Sept. 19 through 21. However, Baird said the fall closing dates could be altered if necessary.

Baird said he had been notified that Horizon Air would discontinue service to the area during the closings, while SkyWest would operate into and out of Twin Falls airport, perhaps with extra flights, to serve the Wood River Valley market.

During the closures, prime contractor Idaho Sand & Gravel would work on the runway and adjoining gutters.

After the airport is reopened, work would continue on extending Friedman's runway pavement by 600 feet to create a safety zone required by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Because of equipment and work on the strip, Baird said, the runway's usable operating length would be shortened from 6,952 feet to 5,000 feet for aircraft landing from the south. He said for some 45 days thereafter, jet aircraft taking off might be noisier because of increased engine power settings to compensate for shorter takeoff runs.

The runway safety area is one of several projects included in $16.5 million worth of ongoing improvements.

Another project, a $1.6 million renovation of the exterior and interior of the terminal, is currently on schedule and on budget, Baird said. He said all work may not be completed by the Christmas rush, but assured the board the terminal would be functional during that time.




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