According to Greg Westfall, Monticello’s new Assistant City Manager, almost all the paving and lighting are complete and runway signage should be finished this week.
“We will decommission the old airport as fast as we can” Westfall reports. “By law, the new airport cannot open until the old one is ‘put to sleep’. We are hoping to accomplish that goal as soon as possible.”
In 2009, the first phase of the project was completed with the moving of over a million tons of dirt.
This year, Granite Construction of Salt Lake City had the contract for the gravel base and the asphalt paving of the roads and runways, including a new turning lane along Highway 191.
Also included in the paving were tie-down areas, turn-around areas for planes, and a three acre site for future development and parking. If funding is available next year, the buildings, fueling facilities and other infrastructure in the airport master plan will be built.
The new airport features a 6,000-foot runway, which is 100 feet wide. This makes possible the landing of small jet aircraft. The new runway is 1,200 feet longer than the old airport runway. The runway alone contains 13.78 acres of asphalt. Altogether, the project has almost 20 acres of new asphalt.
Westfall also indicated the City plans to move some of the infrastructure (mostly hangers) across the highway from the old airport to the new facility.
The Airport was designed by Armstrong Consultants in Grand Junction, CO. The FAA (Federal Aviation Agency) provided 95 percent of the funding. A Utah State grant provided 2.5 percent and San Juan County and the City of Monticello provided the remaining 2.5 percent.
A good airport is like a good water system. It just makes everything in a community “run” better. While there are those who question the cost of this facility considering the amount of usage it presently gets, no one is discounting the fact that having a first class airport will make growth and development more likely in this area in the future.
Most companies looking for locations to build new businesses have four initial questions: “What kind work force do you have?” “Are you business ‘friendly’?” “What ‘quality of life’ is available to the people we will bring to the area?” and “Do you have a good airport?” Monticello had the first three, and now, another pivotal piece of the growth challenge is in place.
Economic benefits have already been realized by having the builders of the airport live in the Monticello area most of the last two summers. This new facility may be a pivitol catalyst in future growth and development.