Although estimates have varied in the past, it seems fairly certain now that a proposal to build a new terminal and relocate a runway at the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport will cost anywhere from $350 to $400 million.
That’s up from an earlier estimate forecasting the combined projects at around $100 million.
Airport officials say the new terminal and runway relocation are needed, particularly when it comes to servicing the tens of thousands of people who visit Aspen every year for its skiing.
The latest proposals call for a modern, two-level terminal that would measure anywhere from 60,000 to 80,000 square feet.
It is thought that the new terminal, replacing the current 17,000 square foot facility that was built in 1976, would cost around $225 million to build, with the runway extension coming in at $150 to $175 million.
The airport itself would most likely be responsible for providing 50 to 60 percent of the funding for the terminal, with the rest coming from Washington.
The Federal Aviation Administration could fund up to 90 percent of the runway work.
Although an exact date for either the terminal or runway work has yet to be announced, an FAA environmental assessment announced earlier this summer said that there would be no negative environmental impact as a result of other projects.
A separate report titled Airspace Impact and Aircraft Feasibility Assessment Update, published by the Lean Engineering firm, concluded that “limitations on air traffic capacity will not be significantly improved following the relocation” of the Aspen airport’s runway.
But the report added that improvements to the airport’s ramp and taxiway may help to alleviate ground congestion.
Airport officials have said that the terminal and runway projects would be done on a phased-in basis.
Also known as Sardy Field, the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport started out as nothing more than a gravel landing strip in the years immediately following World War II.
By Garry Boulard
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