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Airport hill may be removed and turned into asphalt for Carson Freeway

Jill Lufrano, Appeal Staff Writer

A Carson City landowner may have found a way to help build the Carson Freeway and, at the same time, clear the way for a new city airport runway.

John Serpa will ask the city Planning Commission on Wednesday if he can remove a large hill that sits next to the runway at the Carson City Airport and crush the rocks, sand and gravel into the materials needed to build the future freeway.

The hill stands in the way of the airport’s plan to move the runway slightly north and extend it, allowing for larger aircraft to land safely, and moving it farther from residences along Apollo Drive.

The airport expansion would also allow airport officials to install the latest landing equipment, allowing pilots to navigate and land with instruments. The upgrade is especially needed during winter months, said Airport Manager Yvonne Weaver.

“We wanted that hill taken down for quite some time,” Weaver said.

The federally mandated runway project is estimated to cost $12.2 million and is scheduled to begin in the next three years. Airport officials expect to apply for funding but would have to come up with 6 1/4 cents of its own funding for every dollar received in grants. Without having to pay for the hill removal the city will have to come up with much less in match funds, Weaver said.

City planning staff is recommending approval of Serpa’s plan to temporarily build a rock crushing operation, a concrete batch plant and asphalt batch plant for processing the materials on lands he owns next to the airport hill. The land is located on Arrowhead Drive.

Trucks carrying materials will leave the site using a temporary road that will link Graves Lane to the site, avoiding adding traffic to Arrowhead Drive, according to a report filed to the city by Paragon Associates, hired by Serpa for the project.

Materials from the hill will be processed on site and trucked out to the freeway project, though some will be used for a drainage project at the airport.

The project “facilitates construction of the freeway by providing a nearby source of materials, concrete and asphalt,” the staff report said. It will also reduce truck trips through the city from surrounding areas, it said.

Paragon estimates the site, expected to employ 12 people, will produce 240 truckloads carrying 27 yards of crushed rock per day with 61 days of traffic. The site is expected to export 320,000 tons of aggregate base with 240 truck loads per day in 37 days with 36 tons per load.

It also is expected to export 90,000 tons of material in asphalt mix with 240 truck loads per day in 10 days with 36 tons per load.

The estimated time for the first construction phase is 18 months to two years and is planned to begin in September.

Proposed hours of operation are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and possibly 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The batch plant may be authorized to operated 24 hours per day if the freeway project forces nighttime paving and there is no alternative, the report said.

IF YOU GO

What: Carson City Planning Commission, regular meeting

When: 3:30 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Sierra Room, Carson City Community Center, 851 E. William St.