September 29, 2016
The Airport Improvements EA process is now more than halfway complete. Two further developed terminal concepts were presented to the public this week for feedback. These concepts are in no way intended to represent final design of a new terminal in Aspen. They are being used to further study environmental consequences, if any, of a new terminal building. To see the terminal concepts Click Here . For background on the EA process to date Click Here. To view a Timeline of the Airport Improvements Process Click Here.
We would love to get your feedback! Go to www.pitkincountyconnect.com and tell us what you think!
April 13th, 2016
During the month of February and March, the EA team collected “Scoping” comments from the community which included thoughts on the potential environmental concerns of a new airport terminal and a widened/reconfigured runway. We held several scoping meetings including public meetings in both Aspen and Snowmass, a community input committee meeting, an agency meeting and a meeting with the City of Aspen. Additionally, scoping comments were gathered through the Pitkin Connect website. The comment period closed March 31st, and a summary of the comments was presented to the BOCC on April 12th. Comments received included discussion of terminal appearance and function, parking, traffic and transit linkage, air and water quality, noise, and larger aircraft, among others. A summary of the comments received is included in the April 12th presentation. It is important to note that these comments help inform our next phase of the project (environmental analysis), and that additional comment periods will be available at public meetings throughout the EA process. The EA team is currently working through the comments and starting the environmental analysis. We anticipate the next public meeting will occur sometime this summer, and will include preliminary environmental analysis results.
Click Here if you are interested in watching the April 12th Presentation to the Board of County Commissioners. You can click on the agenda item entitled 'Airport Environmental Assessment and Terminal Update' to view this portion of the meeting.
Click Here to see the EA Project Schedule/Timeline for Terminal and Runway Improvements
After a three-month-long hiatus that included discussions with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials, the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport has rolled out a more efficient, more cost-effective and less confusing Environmental Assessment process concerning upcoming improvements at the Airport. On September 9, 2015 Pitkin County Commissioners approved required FAA runway safety improvements and a new airport terminal as the primary focus of one environmental assessment (EA). A second EA that includes a taxiway and Fixed Based Operator facility on the Airport’s west side will be considered separately, if and when funding is available at some point in the future.
Three factors are driving the proposed change in the EA process: First, the county’s priority of safety and the preservation of future commercial service; second, the county’s understanding that FAA funding for all projects identified in the master plan will not be received as quickly as originally planned; and third, public sentiment that separate EA processes for the terminal and runway improvements were confusing.
Safety has always been the top priority at this airport. The EA will consider reconfiguring the runway to meet FAA design standards to accommodate aircraft with wider wingspans that will replace the commercial fleet serving Aspen in the coming years. It will also assess the need for a better terminal to address existing safety and functional issues and to better serve the traveling public.
Airport officials learned over the summer, after a dual EA process had already begun, that FAA funding availability had decreased because of demand from airports around the nation on the FAA’s funding pool. Based on estimated funding shortfalls the parallel taxiway, the 2nd Fixed Base Operator (FBO), and underground parking are not considered within the current planning horizon.
The proposed runway reconfiguration does not include a parallel taxiway on the airport’s west side. Acquisition of Burlingame Open Space along Owl Creek Road will not be not required for the runway project to move forward. Runway reconfiguration will still require a small portion of Owl Creek road to be realigned within existing right of way, while more extensive impacts on Owl Creek Road will not be necessary.