Canyonlands Field Airport is on schedule for completion of the bulk of terminal construction by April 20, Airport Director Judd Hill told the Grand County Council on April 3. Some details, like finishing work on bathrooms, may lag but Hill reported that all “mission-critical” items would be completed on time.
The terminal is nearly complete. Crews are working seven days a week to catch up on paving the primary runway, which was behind schedule in March due to weather and the unexpected closure of a facility that supplied oil for the asphalt. There was another “hiccup” when the first asphalt poured did not meet specifications.
“They poured asphalt and made it look like a runway and we told them to tear it up. It didn’t quite meet our specs. It’s either what we ask for and what we paid for or they can redo it,” said Hill.
Despite the delays, the primary runway should be complete by April 30, Hill said.
One major achievement is that the crosswind runway has been finished. The runway will provide a safe landing place for pilots when strong crosswinds make landing on the main runway unsafe.
“For 20 years we’ve been trying to get this thing in place, so it will be a wonderful permanent addition to the airport and make it a lot safer on windy days,” Hill said. A stormwater drainage system is complete and construction is underway on three private hangars. Construction on a fourth hangar is about to begin.
The airport has been working with Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Aviation Administration to update documentation, as the airport will be changing to a higher classification and accepting jet service in the future.
Hill also said that some of the airport businesses are back up and running, and that UPS freight began flying out of the airport on April 3.
The airport will be decorated with a rotating showcase of local artists. A first call for artists closed this week. At their April 2 meeting, the airport board discussed their hopes to present the art with a barcode that visitors can scan to buy the items. A portion of any sales will go to the airport.
One piece of art that will be featured is a Michael Ford Dunton sculpture entitled “Dreaming of Flight.”
Service will begin on May 1, with flights to and from Denver every day of the week. SkyWest will serve the airport in partnership with United and tickets can be booked on united.com.
On April 3, the county council voted to name the new terminal after Bob Dalla, a civil engineer for the Bureau of Land Management who chaired the airport board for many years.
“[Dalla] helped us build the terminal that is sitting there now, replacing the original terminal,” said Bob Greenberg, a member of the airport board. “[Dalla] led the board through the first round of [the airport] becoming more business-like with formal leases with the folks out there, with standards for the fixed-base operator and other people. He was a tremendous supporter and a tremendous leader. Just incredibly generous with his time, plus he was a heck of a great guy.”
The grand opening will be June 2. Local and state dignitaries will be invited. The airport board is planning airplane rides for children ages 8 to 17, a parachuting demonstration and a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the runway and terminal.