County upgrades airport, explores industrial interest
Most residents seldom think about the county airport. It isn't a boarding point for local travelers, huge amounts of cargo do not pass through it and large jets are not constantly visible in the sky reminding residents of the airport's location northeast of Price.
But expanding usage and an accompanying industrial base associated with the airport may change the situation.
The Carbon County Airport has the second longest runway in the state. In addition, more improvements are made annually at the airport, primarily due to grants from the federal government to update or expand the county facility.
For instance, a project is currently going on that will bring the airport into the 21st century in a big way.
When an aircraft needed to take off of the 8,300 foot long runway in the past, the pilot would have to taxi to the end of the strip.
But within the next few months, planes will be able to taxi on the ground while others are taking off or landing at the airport. A 5,000 foot taxiway is being constructed east of the main runway.
"Building a runway or taxiway is a lot different from building a highway," explained Larry Hyatt, a field engineer for Creamer and Noble. "The biggest factor is the compaction that is required on a runway. It has to be 100 percent as compared with highways which specify about 96 percent."
During an interview at the project site, Hyatt laid out the plans on the hood of a truck and showed the cross view of how a runway is designed.
Much of what is directly under the taxiway will be special permeable material, mostly a special sand. The importance of compaction has to do with impacts and stresses the taxiway may have to take under the weight of large planes.
Drainage is another important factor. The project will have adequate drainage to keep the pavement intact by drawing off any moisture so it doesn't get under and damage the asphalt .
But most people looking around the airport might wonder why the project is important. Planes are not lining up and circling the facility in order to get a spot in which to slip onto the ground. But while that may not change, there are economic reasons for airport improvement.
In the last few months, Carbon economic development director DeLynn Fielding has been talking to various aeronautic industrial companies that are considering starting up operations in county, due to the facilities that are continuing to be improved at the airport.
"One of the companies we have been talking with brings in old planes, takes them apart and refurbishes them," Fielding told the Price River Improvement District Board last week.
There are also other companies that require frontage and close proximity to an airport that the Carbon facility provides.
Recently, the county's economic development department sent out four color glossy flyers to companies dealing with aeronautics.
The marketing and promotion effort has yielded interest from a number of organizations, according to Fielding.
The airport has a lot to offer. With the long 100-foot wide runway, the taxiway under construction and two crosswind runways, the facility is as good as many. The airport also features the new hangar as well as instrument approach technology.
There are hundreds of acres of available space near the airport for plant development. In addition, there is not only a willing and ready work force, but College of Eastern Utah, Applied Technology College and Utah State University can provide custom fit training for employees in relation to company needs of firms that may relocate here.
There are also tax incentives for companies to come to Carbon County. The companies can get up to $100,000 for relocation costs and additional incentives based on job creation during a five-year period. Other incentives include state credits for employee hiring as well as plant construction and equipment over a period of time.
In addition, the area is served by good road transportation as well as excellent rail system. Transportation would be important for manufacturing and other types of industries.
As the airport is improved, the chances for attracting an industrial base that ties in with it gets better and better.