Runway could cost $10 million more than city has

Carson City Airport officials hope to narrow the estimated cost of rebuilding the runway before city supervisors are asked to approve the project on April 6.

For now, the cost of a new runway could range from $4 million to $10 million.

The Carson City Airport Authority has $4 million in Federal Aviation Administration grant and city funds for runway work. But the authority would have to seek more FAA funding, depending on how much higher the cost estimates run.

"(The FAA) could say no or give us everything we want," airport engineer Jim Clague said.

Clague estimates the cost of runway construction work on existing airport property at $4.1 million. The new runway, however, will involve neighboring property owned by developer John Serpa and those costs have not been included in any estimates.

Buying 18 acres of Serpa land could cost the airport about $3 million, and removing the hill on Serpa land just northeast of the existing runway could add as much as $3 million.

"These are very preliminary estimates right now," Clague said.

The Airport Authority earlier this month recommended shifting the east end of the runway about 200 feet to the north, toward the hill. The authority with a 4-3 vote rejected a second option to build the new runway parallel to the existing runway, about 75 feet to the north.

Clague said either option will require more land and hill removal, but the parallel runway needs less land and only a portion of the hill would have to be removed.

Airport Authority members left open the option of building the parallel runway if FAA funding was not available for the additional costs of the favored runway.

Clague had hoped to ask the FAA for more money this month, but officials at the FAA Airports District Office in Burlingame, Calif., want to have a Board of Supervisors decision before considering another grant application.

Clague will spend the next two weeks trying to get answers to the hill and property questions.

Airport and Nevada Department of Transportation officials have talked about using the hill dirt as Highway 395 bypass fill dirt. NDOT officials, however, have not indicated that a decision would come by April 6.

Until the past week, Clague believed hill removal would cost the Airport Authority nothing if NDOT accepted the dirt. The bypass contractor, however, last week told Clague the airport or Serpa would be charged for hill removal.

"Whether there's a cost there, I don't know," Clague said. "I don't know what the cost would be."

The Serpa land also complicates the matter. Serpa wants the airport to buy it, but airport officials are less enamored with owning the 18 acres unless they build a taxiway parallel to the new runway.

"There would have to be some type of agreement with Serpa," Clague said.

"We need some control over that land to put the runway in but not necessarily purchase it."

Coming up

Supervisors will be asked to approve money to rebuild runway on April 6.


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