Commissioners hear suggestions for Aberdeen airport

BLACKFOOT — Bingham County commissioners recommended a public hearing be scheduled in Aberdeen to determine if there is interest to extend the runway at the Aberdeen Municipal Airport.
Airports are required to pass an inspection certification each 10 years, said Nathan Cuvala from T-O Engineers in Boise. His firm was hired to inspect the Aberdeen Municipal Airport. Cuvala presented the idea of extending the runway to the county commissioners in mid-December.
The extension of the airport runway would allow spray planes to carry heavier loads because the length would be of use in hot weather, Cuvala said.
The possibility of extending the runway would require closing part of S. 3000 W. because roads cannot go across an airport.
The airport was first built in 1940. Hangers were first added in 1945. The road that crosses the runway would be grandfathered in, said Cuvala. The rules against roads crossing an runway protection zone applies only to new construction.
To extend the runway, farm ground would also need to be purchased.
At this point, commissioner Ladd Carter suggested a public hearing in Aberdeen to determine if people are interested in this project.
The key issues included in this proposal are:
° The current runway length is approximately 3,500 feet with 3,000 feet usable length due to constrained Runway Safety Area (RSA).
° Future runway length is recommended to be 4,210 feet. With Runway Protection Zones (RPZs) of 1,000 feet in length off both runway ends, the minimum length required is 6,210 feet.
° For new construction, FAA prohibits roads in RPZs.
° There is approximately 5,000 feet between S. 2900 W. and S. 3000 W. This project would need 6,210 feet to accommodate future runway length and fully compliant RPZs on both ends.
Spray planes and a few recreational planes use this airport, Cuvala said. Simplot uses it about once each year. If the airport runway was extended, it would be used mainly by spray planes to carry heavier loads in hot weather.