parked cars at the airport

Cars parked in the Montrose Regional Airport parking lot on Oct. 20, 2021. 

Montrose Regional Airport is expanding to accommodate record amounts of travelers.

Montrose County commissioners approved $3.4 million for a contract with Williams Construction to build 570 new parking spaces at the airport.

The spots are for long-term and rental overflow parking.

“We see that thing is packed all the time and we’re grateful that we’re in a position where we can afford to get this done and make these improvements for our traveling public,” Commissioner Roger Rash said.

A request for proposals was issued on Oct. 1 and three bids were submitted. Williams Construction was the least expensive proposal the county received. United Companies submitted a $3.6 million bid and FCI Constructors, the company that has been already awarded a $33 million contract for the airport terminal expansion, submitted a $3.7 million bid.

Lloyd Arnold, the director of aviation, explained at the Oct. 6 meeting where the commissioners voted on a notice of award that the project is going to be completed in two phases. He said he hoped the first phase of laying down the initial road base will be completed before the airport’s busy season starts around Dec. 14.

After the winter peak, the project will be finished in the spring.

Airport traffic has been hitting record highs this summer. The amount of passengers in July 2021 paralleled the numbers during the winter peak in previous years.

The commissioners also approved just over $200,000 to Jacobs Engineering to perform design and bidding services for a new stoplight near the airport entrance.

Jacobs Engineering is the designated contractor to provide engineering services for the airport.

Arnold said that the majority of traffic coming out of the airport that is traveling south into town needs to turn left onto the highway with many cars whizzing by at 50 or 60 miles per hour.

“It’s very dangerous,” Commissioner Sue Hansen said. She shared that she “does the grandma thing” and avoids turning left directly onto the highway.

Arnold estimated that the project is going to cost $2.3 million and the City of Montrose will cover $1.5 million of the costs. The services from Jacobs Engineering approved Wednesday, which the county is paying for, are included in the total cost.

In September, county commissioners approved $33 million that will nearly double the size of the terminal, which is set to be completed by fall 2023. A new hotel on airport property replete with a rooftop bar was also approved this August and construction is expected to begin before the end of the year.

Anna Lynn Winfrey is a staff writer for the Montrose Daily Press.

Anna Lynn Winfrey is a staff writer for the Montrose Daily Press.

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