HAMILTON — Work is back underway on the expansion of the Ravalli County Airport. But in a few weeks, the facility will have to be closed down to air traffic while the shift is made to the new runway alignment.
Lengthening the main runway at the airport northeast of Hamilton has been a project more than 25-years in the making. But now, with the return of good construction weather, crews with S and K Construction have resumed work on the $15 million project.
While considerable progress was made last fall, this spring and summer will see the bulk of the work completed extending the runway to a full 5,200 feet. That involves the removal of tens of thousands of cubic yards of soil to eliminate the hill at the north end of the airport, and installing drains and other infrastructure.
The project is so extensive, air traffic will be curtailed for a time, probably starting next month.
"There will be an airport closure from probably around April for a few months there. We'll have to shut down the airport because they'll actually be moving the runway to the east and the north shift on the runway," Ravalli County Commissioner Jeff Burrows said. "So, we'll be completely shut down for a couple few months out there when they actually start re-doing the runway."
If all goes well, the county is hoping to have the new runway in service toward the end of summer.