After more than 25 years, Ravalli County moving on runway expansion

(KPAX) HAMILTON — A project first envisioned in the closing years of the 20th Century is finally moving forward, as Ravalli County commissioners accept the final $12 million in grant funding for expansion of the county airport.

The idea of extending the main runway at the Ravalli County Airport east of Hamilton has been actively pursued since the mid-1990s, but the concept is even older than that. For years, county commissioners and community leaders have wanted to extend the runway to promote economic development.

On Monday morning, with little fanfare, Ravalli County commissioners moved to accept the Federal Aviation Administration grants completing nearly $15 million in funds to extend the runway to 5,200 feet.

More importantly, that’s turned out to be enough money that the county won’t have to scrape together a 10% local match.

“$1.5 million funded locally would have been difficult for us to do, So, you know we had partners with it that were going to help us with some of that match. But that’s a really big deal. We can use some of that match money that we were anticipating using and maybe put into some other improvement projects at the airport, so, big day for us,” said Ravalli County Commissioner, Jeff Burrows.

Commissioners also approved a $12 million contract with S&K Construction to start the expansion as soon as permits are approved, probably as soon as this fall.