Hill near airport being knocked down

Staff report

Work on removing a hill near the Carson City Airport as part of a $30 million improvement project is close to half finished.

The project, part of the airport's 2001 masterplan approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), will cut off 80 feet from the hill's height and remove about a million cubic yards of dirt.

The hill was an obstruction that created a flow of dangerous turbulence.

"We thought, 'Oh gosh, we better take the hill down,'" said Collie Hutter of the Carson City Airport Authority.

The dirt from the hill is being used to fill in a low area on the east end of the airport. That part of the project is about 40 percent done.

The hill removal and other improvements came after a decision in the masterplan to replace aging infrastructure and fix dangerous problems. The project will realign the runway, widen the taxiway and install a new communication system.

The realignment will give planes and taxis more space and also flatten a hump in the middle of it that blocked sight from one end of the airport to the other.

This will add 200 feet to the runway, making it 6,100 feet long.

The work will cut down on noise for neighboring houses by moving the runway 100 yards farther away from them.

Authority Chairman Steve Lewis said a masterplan was adopted in the 1980s, but never implemented.

Talks for the masterplan that was adopted started in the late 1990s, he said, and authority members decided on removing the hill because several buildings would have had to have been knocked down otherwise.

Members tried to get a waiver from the FAA on some of the upgrades, but weren't able to, he said.

The seven-member authority was created in 1989. It owns and operates the airport on the northeast side of the city. Members are appointed by the city board of supervisors.

The airport has no commercial service.

Yvon Weaver resigned as airport manager in the middle of August and her husband, Neil Weaver, resigned from the airport authority later that month.

The authority is looking for a new manager.

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