Thursday, October 12, 2006

Work's Really Taking Off

Work's Really Taking Off
Airport Improvements Ahead of Schedule
By Jennifer Gentile//Staff Writer

Heavy equipment operators move dirt Tuesday at the Nut Tree Airport in preparation of a new...

Construction continues on improvements at the Nut Tree Airport in Vacaville, and general manager Andrew Swanson said phase one is progressing ahead of schedule.
"It's coming along great," Swanson said of the work, which he estimated is two weeks ahead of projections. The long-awaited Airport Improvement Project has a price tag of about $3.4 million.

Swanson said the improvements are federally funded with some state contribution. Ghilotti of Santa Rosa is the contractor for the project, which began on Sept. 12.

Phase one of the project primarily includes the rehabilitation of the parking apron, which has a capacity of slightly more than 100 airplanes. The project as a whole includes the resurfacing of Airport Road, water lines, and new entrance gates.

Swanson said the parking apron was in such a state of disrepair that a larger plane actually sank into it a year and a half ago.

"It is in terrible shape," he said. "It needed a lot of work." The manager said the new layout would be more user-friendly for aircraft, in addition to being a much-needed safety improvement.

Andrew Kotch, public information officer for Solano County, said another part of the project is a wash rack, which will allow planes to be cleaned on the premises. The airport had a wash rack that was closed down several years ago due to environmental concerns.

"From what I understand, that is of great interest to local pilots," Kotch said. Swanson said the rack would be functional, at the earliest, in December.

According to Swanson, the contractor is in the process of preparing the area that will be resurfaced, and the paving part of the project should be under way by the end of the month. Pilots can expect to see striping and an anchoring system on the fresh asphalt by the end of November.

The contract specifies completion of the entire project within 80 working days, and Swanson said the progression of phase two depends largely on the weather.

"It is getting late in the season, so it is hard to predict," he said. The second phase, in addition to the resurfacing of Airport Road, includes the addition of two entrance

gates and the replacement of another.

Jennifer Gentile can be reached at

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