Poor weather slows airport upgrades

Excavating work to extend the runway is scheduled to wrap up by mid-August, weather permitting.

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Wet rainy weather has delayed work at High Prairie Airport to extend the runway and widen an access road.

“It’s been a slow project,” says Delon Young, project manager for contractor WSP Global Inc.

“The weather hasn’t been co-operating.”

Work to widen the access road from Highway 749 is expected to start Aug. 12, he says.

“If the weather is good, it will take about three weeks to complete,” Young says.

Paving the runway will be completed in about eight working days, he says.

“The scheduled for the project is a work in progress, weather permitting,” Young says.

Work to complete the entire project was scheduled for Sept. 15.

However, that will likely be delayed, he says.

“Due to the wet weather, we’ll have to be extended to the number of days of rain,” Young says.

Work to construct trenches for electrical cables for runway lighting is also expected to start Aug, 12, he says.

The airport is closed to regular air traffic.

STARS air ambulance still has access as needed, Big Lakes County states on its website.

Funding of up to $720,695 for a new overlay of the runway and to upgrade lighting was announced June 4, 2018 for the county under the provincial Strategic Transportation Infrastructure Program (STIP).

A longer runway will accommodate more traffic and larger aircraft, including a Learjet 35A aircraft, says Vic Abel, director of public works.

Other local partners in the project include the Town of High Prairie, High Prairie Forest Products under West Fraser Mills and Tolko Industries, Abel says.

Big Lakes County took over ownership of the airport in 2016 from the Town of High Prairie.

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