The airport at Telluride, Colorado, was closed Monday to begin
work on a $17 million month-long project on the ends of its
runways, but airport managers have requested an additional $20
million from the FAA for additional safety enhancements.
Telluride Airport (KTEX) Manager Rich Nuttall told the
Telluride Daily Planet that the additional grant is
dependent on Congress releasing the money to the FAA.
The additional grant would be used to improve aprons along the
runway, which could prevent an airplane experiencing difficulty on
takeoff or landing from going over the edge of the mesa on which
the airport is located and falling nearly 1,000 feet to the San
Miguel river. It could also open up KTEX to larger commercial
flights, thought that is not a given. Nuttall said that once the
work on the runways is completed, a determination will be made
about additional commercial flights.
About $33 million has already been spent at KTEX, smoothing out
a notorious dip in the middle of the runway. It was also lengthened
in an effort to attract some larger airplanes. But the airport's
elevation of 9,078 feet, the highest in the nation
offering regularly-scheduled airline service, obviously limit
the types of aircraft that can operate there.
The airport is slated to be closed until early June for the work
currently under way.