The Durango-La Plata County Airport plans to be ready for the crush of Thanksgiving passengers with more parking.
“We are essentially at max in terms of capacity in our vehicle parking lot,” Aviation Director Tony Vicari said.
Last year, the airport ran out of parking spaces and had to provide off-site free parking because it was short about 15 to 20 spaces, Vicari said.
“That’s not an advantageous position to be in,” he said.
The airport expects to add 47 paved parking spaces on the eastern edge of the credit card lot and 63 spaces to the western edge of the airport’s overflow gravel parking lot, he said.
The work is expected to take about two weeks and cost about $65,000.
A date for construction hasn’t been decided upon because the airport is still in negotiations with a contractor, Vicari said.
The airport is also planning several construction projects expected to start next year.
In 2018, the airport expects to start reconstructing a portion of the airport’s taxiway with a $1.96 million Federal Aviation Administration grant.
“A lot of the pieces of pavement are starting to meet the end of their usable life,” he said.
The taxiway is 9,200 feet long and the airport reconstructs it in pieces because dong it all at once would be prohibitively expensive and operationally impossible, he said.
Passengers should not notice any delays as a result of the construction.
Travelers may see some construction on the taxiway this fall because crews are scheduled to patch a separate segment.
The airport is also planning to remodel space behind the airport’s ticket counters, which serve the airline staff as offices and equipment storage areas.
“The early concept would be a fairly dramatic remodel of that space,” he said.
The airport also received a $500,000 FAA grant for a power broom vehicle to remove snow.
The vehicle uses brushes made with metal bristles to sweep the snow to one side, and it is generally followed by a plow.
“We have to get our surfaces almost down to bare pavement,” he said.
It will be the third power broom vehicle in the fleet and provide some redundancy. When one of the two vehicles goes down, “it’s a major operational stress,” Vicari said.