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Tue, May 11, 2010

Telluride Requests Additional Runway Grant

Airport Closed Monday For Initial Runway Work

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.



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