Friday, July 4, 2014

Airport construction is on schedule

Taxiway project completed; other work still to come

Express Staff Writer

Future work at Friedman Memorial Airport includes reconfiguring the main passenger terminal with a new layout and design.
Courtesy graphic

     A project to relocate the south half of the west taxiway at Freidman Memorial Airport 70 feet to the west was completed one day ahead of schedule on June 30.

     The two Boise-based contractors, Western Construction and Knife River, also completed a project to relocate taxilanes to hangars for private planes.

     The work was part of an overall $34 million construction project intended to bring the airport’s layout into compliance with Federal Aviation Administration ground safety requirements.

     “Each milestone was completed on time or early,” T-O Engineers consultant Dave Mitchell told the Airport Authority board during a meeting Tuesday. “It’s really a tribute to the contractor, the prime contractor and the subs—they all did a great job. It’s a team effort—we’re really happy we got it done.”

     Airport Manager Rick Baird also credited Mitchell and other T-O employees, who, he said, put in long hours at the site.

     “Dave and his crew did an exceptional job,” Baird said. “The T-O team were absolutely marvelous in helping to keep the project on schedule.”

     Work is ongoing to finalize a design for an expanded airport terminal and strengthen a parking apron on the terminal’s north side to accommodate commercial jets. The changes are required because the new taxiway location will replace the current apron on the east side of the terminal.

     The Hailey Planning and Zoning Commission gave design-review approval to the building on June 9. Baird said the airport’s architectural committee will meet July 16 to discuss interior finishes for the 34,000-square-foot building.

     Mitchell said design work for the apron is behind schedule, but plans will be available for contractors’ bids on July 11. He said bids are scheduled to be opened on July 24, contracts to be awarded on Aug. 5 and work to begin in late August.

     He said bids will be sought for two options—one to build an asphalt apron and another to build a concrete one. He said concrete is longer lasting but more expensive.

     The entire construction project is scheduled to be completed by July 2015.

     In other airport news:

  • Baird said Tulsa, Okla.-based consultant Mead & Hunt has agreed to a $611,726 fee to create a 20-year airport master plan. The plan would recommend further changes at the existing airport as well as evaluate sites for a replacement airport. It would provide “trigger points” at which increased operations at the existing site would prompt construction of a new airport. The airport’s current master plan was created in 1985 and last updated in 2004. A new update has been requested by the FAA.
  • Prompted by a suggestion by board member and County Commissioner Larry Schoen, the board discussed making improvements to food service at the terminal. Schoen suggested that the airport’s parking fee be waived for anyone eating at the terminal, which he said could motivate vendors to provide more extensive offerings. The idea was opposed by board member and County Commissioner Jacob Greenberg, who owns Shorty’s Diner and said the board should not be trying to find ways for the airport to outcompete restaurant owners in Hailey. Board Chair Ron Fairfax suggested that the airport provide free coffee and perhaps more for early-morning passengers. Baird said he would work on it.

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