GUC terminal renovation hitting bumps, delaying project

Winter will be messy

[ By Mark Reaman ]

While the expectation is to finish the major Gunnison-Crested Butte airport terminal upgrade on time next summer, it won’t be a smooth road to completion.

Gunnison County facilities and grounds director John Cattles told the Rural Transportation Authority (RTA) board on Friday that there have been a lot of “speed bumps” with the construction and he indicated this winter will essentially be a work zone for passengers using GUC for the next six or seven months.

“Doing this sort of upgrade by itself is a very, very, very difficult project,” he said. “Things like supply chain issues, inventory shortages and staff shortages make it worse. As one example there are not many CDL licensed drivers in the valley, so we are bringing them in from as far away as Grand Junction.”

Cattles said the baggage claim space is being moved inside the terminal this week and will be operational next week pending delivery of some final pieces of equipment. The new security checkpoint space will be ready for use on November 30. Also, on November 30 a portion of the ssecond floor hold room will be ready for use. “We will continue to make incremental improvements like opening up more space and improving baggage handling through the winter season,” said Cattles.

“It will be a hard winter with lots of interrupted flow for the ski season, so we are asking everyone to be please patient,” he said. “We know it sucks. The end date for the project is still June and that’s when we hope we will be 100 percent done so we can have everything finished by July.” The new building will be totally electric and have no gas lines servicing it.

In the meantime, the installation of escalators will be taking place right in the middle of the new terminal so there will be temporary hallways through March. That will come with limited restroom facilities and a construction site feel for the winter. “We will be able to serve people but there will be a lot of compromises,” he said.

GUC airport manager Rick Lamport said he would be discussing with Alpine Express the best way to manage bus traffic flow and pick-ups this winter.

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