Rides encouraged to YVRA

As construction begins at Yampa Valley Regional Airport, the county is asking travelers not to park their vehicles in the parking lot long term.

Interim Airport Manager Ann Copeland encourages those flying in and out of the airport to have someone drive them or take a taxi.

This summer, Routt County is beginning a $13.6 million improvement project at YVRA, representing Phase 2 of a three-part terminal expansion project. Monday marked the beginning of the $8.1 million groundwork portion. The county intends to improve parking and roads at the airport before winter. Next spring it plans to start work on runway and apron improvements, as well as an expansion of passenger waiting areas in the terminal.

Part of this summer's construction plans include paving and expanding the parking areas. To do so, the parking lots will have to be shuffled around, and the number of available parking spaces will be reduced.

With the construction, Cope-land said all travelers should add a little extra time to get to the airport. Travelers also should try to avoid parking at the airport until mid-November, she said.

"We'd really appreciate any cooperation we could get from the public," Routt County Man-ager Tom Sullivan said.

The largest concern is travelers who intend to park their vehicles at the airport for two to three weeks at a time. As construction continues at the airport, areas for long-term, rental and employee parking will change.

Hopes are to not have vehicles in the way of construction. Copeland said during past projects, when parked cars interfered with construction, airport officials have used tow trucks to move them.

"We really are trying not to do that this year," she said.

Even those who park their cars for just a few days during the week could interfere with construction, Copeland said. The goal is to work on certain sections of the parking area every week, but Copeland said contractors are not sticking to a set schedule.

"We're on such a tight timeline before winter anyway, we are going to move as fast as we can on this," she said.

Through the remodel, Cope-land said she expects to have about 30 spaces in the long-term parking section. She said that on Monday, there were about 100 vehicles parked in the airport's long-term lot.

The airport is encouraging travelers to find rides to catch their flights, but Copeland said her staff would do its best to accommodate those who cannot.

For those parking for long periods of time, Copeland said airport officials would look for a corner of the parking area where construction was not going to occur. She also said she would try to make sure enough parking was available for everyone who drove.

However, she recommended that anyone intending to park at the airport for long periods of time call the airport administration office beforehand at 276-5001. Copeland also asks that those parking their cars take the time to read signs posted at the airport indicating the phasing of construction and changes to the parking area.

"We hope to have as much communication on that as we can just to let people know what is happening," Copeland said.

Although construction is beginning, the parking lot should stay relatively unchanged until Aug. 22, Copeland said.

Along with improvements to the parking area, construction is scheduled for the road in front of the terminal building. Signs will be placed near the entrance and exits of the airport to direct traffic through Routt County Road 51.

The east and west entrance into the airport will remain open throughout the construction period.

-- To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229 or e-mail cmetz@steamboatpilot.com

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