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Airport construction delayed until spring





A project to reconstruct the main runway of Hays Regional Airport will be delayed until next year, due to a holdup in the grant approval process by the Federal Aviation Administration.

City Manager Toby Dougherty told commissioners Thursday that although the FAA formally notified the city the runway project grant was approved last week, the project will not commence until next spring.

"The good news is they approved it in a timely manner to get the prices locked in," Dougherty said. "I'm not going to call this bad news, I'm going to call it a change in schedule."

Fears of not being able to finish the project before winter prompted the city's decision to delay the project.

Commissioners accepted the low bid of $6.8 million from Smoky Hill LLC in May prior to submitting the project to the FAA for award of 90 percent of the project's funding.

A memo from Dougherty said options for the start of construction have been discussed with the project's engineer and contractor.

"While there appears to be several construction days available this fall, too much uncertainty accompanies any time line that relies on the Kansas weather in November and December to complete concrete projects of this magnitude," a meeting memo from Dougherty said. "We would, however, allow contractor to begin accumulating materials and storing some on site as well as providing shop drawings for work to begin prior to the spring start date."