Airport Fixes Estimated at $9 Million
March 18, 2014
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  • A project that will see major renovations to the Chadron airport is scheduled to go to bid next month with work to start either later this year or in the spring of 2015.

    Curt Christianson of Olsson Associates explained the estimated $9 million improvement project at Monday’s city council meeting. The airports runways and taxiways need repair after it was discovered two years ago that the relatively new concrete was disintegrating due to an alkali silica reaction. When originally constructed, the runway won the Nebraska Concrete Paving Association’s Best Airport Project Award and was expected to last the city for 40-50 years. That was in 2000.

    Extensive cracking was discovered during a project to place new lighting at the airport.

    Christianson said the project will be completed in phases and could take up to 287 working days; that timetable could be advanced if the contractor chooses to work on more than one phase at a time. Olsson Associates has worked to limit the disruption at the airport and said the project should only require closure of the facility for 15 days when work on the runway intersection is being completed.

    “It’s quite a significant project,” he said.

    The contractor who wins the bid will remove more 52,000 square yards of dirt, 83,000 square yards of concrete and 71,000 square yards of asphalt. More than 1,800 tons of cement will be used, and in excess of 90,000 square yards of new pavement will be laid. The taxiway lights that were installed two years ago when the concrete problems were discovered will have to be relocated during the project. A third taxiway will also be constructed, which will allow the airport to remain operational during work on the original taxiways. Taxiway C will eventually become a permanent taxiway for the airport.

    Olsson Associates estimates the entire project could cost anywhere from $8.1-9.5 million. The range reflects how much fly-ash the contractor will be required to use to prevent further alkali silica reactions. That will be determined by stringent testing as the project progresses, Christianson said. Engineering and administrative costs have not yet been included in those figures.

    The Federal Aviation Administration will fund 95 percent of the costs, with the city responsible for the remaining 5 percent.

    The city will begin advertising for bids April 2, and will open bids April 24 at 2 p.m. at the city hall council chambers.

    Should all go smoothly and the FAA releases funding quickly, the project could start with the construction of Taxiway C this fall. At the outside, the project will begin in the spring of 2015 and is scheduled to be completed no later than November 2016.