Rocky Mountain Metro Airport is undergoing construction to meet safety standards required by the Federal Aviation Administration for the airport’s main runway, 11L. The project has proven to be a doozy, requiring the movement of State Highway 128.
“We are in the middle of a two-phase project that is improving safety area to the west of the airport’s primary runway,” said Kenny Maenpa, Metro Airport director.
“Currently the runway safety area is 600 feet in length off the end of the runway, and we require a total of 1000 feet of safety area to meet safety standards of aircraft that are currently operating at Metro Airport,” Maenpa said.
In the event a plane is not able to stop by the end of the runway, or a plane taking off does not reach high speeds in order to lift off before the runway ends, the safety area will act as a buffer to help prevent drastic consequences.
The safety area will not be paved but graded flat to prevent a plane from inflicting significant damage to the property or to the plane itself.
It is a two-phase project, but the good news is, phase one of the project which includes relocating State Highway 128, is 90-percent complete.
The second phase, which involves removing the existing retaining wall, and building out the safety area or buffer zone will require dirt taken from several sources around the airport, with majority of the earth coming from west of the intersection of Simms Street and State Highway 128.
Officials anticipate the project to be complete by December 2013 with some minor touch-ups in 2014.
“We’re still going to have come back in the spring and seed the new slope,” Georgiann Dewey, airport development manager said.
“There’s going to be a reinforced soil slope that is 80 ft. high, so it’s a native landscape that blends in with the area.”
“Jviation, CH2M Hill, Kelley Trucking, and American Civil Constructors have done an absolutely fabulous job,” Dewey said.