Flying toward the future: Coeur d’Alene Airport master plan presented

May 30, 2018

Mead & Hunt aviation planner Mitch Hooper explained aspects of a proposed master plan for the Coeur D'Alene Airport at an open house (photo courtesy of JUDD WILSON/Coeur d’Alene-Post Falls Press)
Mead & Hunt aviation planner Mitch Hooper explains aspects of a proposed master plan for the Coeur D’Alene Airport at an open house (photo courtesy of JUDD WILSON/Coeur d’Alene-Post Falls Press)

Team led by Mead & Hunt guiding long-term development at one of Northern Idaho’s premier general aviation airports.

Though far from final, possible changes to North Ramsey Road, North Huetter Road, and two runways at Coeur d’Alene Airport were presented at a master plan open house here Tuesday night.

Airport director Steven Kjergaard explained that for years the airport’s two runways have started at the same spot, contrary to FAA regulations. The regulation is a safety measure to prevent accidents by pilots new to the airport, he said. The local strips are some of the only ones in the nation that still have such a configuration, said Kjergaard. The master plan update includes decoupling the runways to alleviate that problem.

In addition to decoupling the runways, the master plan update also presented two alternatives to the public for the airport’s shorter runway. Alternative B-I would chop Runway 2-20 so short that it couldn’t handle small jets, while alternative B-II would leave it with enough length to accommodate them, said Kjergaard. In windy conditions affecting smaller planes, the airport’s shorter runway is the easier one to use, he said. The technical steering committee and community advisory committee preferred the longer option, Kjergaard said.

Other changes have been worked into the master plan, said Kjergaard, such as accomodation of a bypass on North Huetter Road on its west and an extension of North Ramsey Road to its east. Airport advisory board member John Adams said the North Huetter Road bypass would forever limit the airport’s ability to expand to the west, but that it was a compromise the airport could live with. The airport would still have up to an 8,600-foot-long runway capable of handling the airport’s future needs, he said.

The Federal Aviation Administration will pay for 90 percent of the costs of the master plan’s updates with fees it collects on passenger tickets and aviation fuel, said Kjergaard. The other 10 percent will be the responsibility of the county and the state, he said. Estimates for the two alternatives presented Tuesday ranged from $21-27 million. Kjergaard said he expected the improvements to take at least five to seven years.

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