Carson Airport closes for about 10 days starting Thursday evening

The Carson City Airport will remain closed 24 hours a day starting at 6 p.m. Thursday until runway repair work is completed.

The projected completion date for crack repairs, fog sealing and striping the runway is Nov. 5, though the unpredictable nature of weather this time of year could add some days, airport engineer Jim Clague said.

Airport users have already faced a week of daytime closures for the crack work but those days allowed for planes to fly in or out before 6 a.m. and after 4 p.m. That schedule continues today and Wednesday.

On Thursday, the runway will be closed from 6:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The last flights in or out will have runway access for 90 minutes until the 24-hour closure goes into effect at 6 p.m.

The Carson City Airport Authority on Monday yielded to requests by fixed base operators like El Aero Services and Sterling Air. They preferred a total closure for fewer days rather than several weeks of daytime closures.

"I think the resolution is what we've been looking for," said Steve Lewis, president of Sterling Air, Northern Nevada's largest aircraft dealer. "Let's get it done. This is what we were looking for."

DHL Express and the Nevada Department of Transportation were the most affected because they fly planes in and out of the Carson City Airport on schedule each weekday. DHL already relocated to Minden-Tahoe Airport.

NDOT will have to reroute the two state planes that shuttle state employees between Carson City and Las Vegas. Typically, 10 people fly in each direction, pilot Gary Phillips said.

"We'll figure out some place to move the plane to," Phillips said. "It will inconvenience us but we'll get it done."

The Airport Authority initially intended to stick with a 6:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. closure schedule. Authority member Mayor Ray Masayko, however, lobbied to have Granite Construction work 24 hours a day, including the three-day Nevada Day holiday weekend.

"It will cost a few bucks to get this thing done and be done with it," Masayko said. "My slant is toward Saturday, Sunday and holidays. I know this involves overtime. Let's finish it."

The holiday-weekend hours could add an estimated $10,000 to the $315,000 contract, though final figures still need to be worked out, Clague said.

Airport Authority Chairman David Corrao initially advised against a total closure but ultimately joined the other authority members in the unanimous vote for total closure.

Authority member Will Fletcher said opening the airport for one-hour morning and afternoon windows could create potential problems for jets if the runway isn't immaculately cleaned each time.

"I say we bite the bullet and do it 24 hours a day and get it done," Fletcher said.

Authority members Ron Kitchen, Steve Melsheimer and Ray Alcorn also spoke in favor of Masayko's proposal.

"I kinda would like to see this project done," Kitchen said. "I think getting it over with is best for everybody."

The runway repair is a short-term fix until the runway is rebuilt in a new alignment, possibly in the next two years.


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