Trail airport transformed

The Trail airport is being upgraded, to the tune of almost $9 million

Robert Baker, manager of the Trail airport, looks forward to completion of a brand new terminal building and an upgraded runway.

Robert Baker, manager of the Trail airport, looks forward to completion of a brand new terminal building and an upgraded runway. — Photo courtesy Robert Baker

The Trail Regional Airport (YZZ) is undergoing improvements to the tune of almost $9 million.

“Our budget for the terminal building was $4.25 million and our budget for the runway and taxiway apron improvements was $4.6 million,” said Robert Baker, manager of the airport. “That’s quite a bit of money.”

Baker said the existing runway surface, which dates back to the 1970s, is in desperate need of rehabilitation. The asphalt will be removed all the way down to the subsurface, and necessary adjustments to the gravel, drainage and grading will be done before new asphalt is applied. If all goes according to plan, the runway project will be completed by the end of October.

Cutting costs, going green

When he was reviewing the runway project, Baker had an idea for saving some of the financial and environmental costs of removing the asphalt debris.

“We need to create an overflow parking lot,” he said, “and since we are going to have a lot of asphalt millings coming off the runway as it gets resurfaced, we’re going to use them. We’re doing everything we can with the product so that it doesn’t end up in a landfill or a giant pit somewhere.”

The asphalt millings will be spread over top of the gravel in the new lot to make a better surface for vehicles, and still allow for drainage. More of the millings will be distributed on the utility tracks on the airport property.

Safety plus

Water, snow and ice on an airport runway can significantly affect the safety of an aircraft’s landing. To improve that safety, YZZ is investing in a runway surface condition reporting system.

The system consists of a decelerometer fitted into an airport truck. When the driver applies the brakes, sensors will calculate the resulting forces—or friction index—that act on the vehicle as it’s slowing down. That information will automatically go to NavCanada for analysis, and pilots scheduled to land in Trail will receive that analysis.

Boring steel box? Nope.

Work on the new, prefabricated steel terminal building is well underway, and Baker is cautiously hopeful that it will be open to the public by November 1. To transform the utilitarian, 62.5-foot-by-70.5-foot steel shell into an attractive, user-friendly public facility, YZZ hired Stanley Office of Architecture, from Nelson, B.C.

“Matthew Stanley is our architect,” Baker said. “He worked with the company that made the prefab building to figure out how to make it more esthetically pleasing, and then tackled the interior. He fit in everything we need—washrooms, mechanical servers, offices for the airline, space for a car rental company, space for a business centre and much more customer seating than we had in the past.”

The new terminal building at the Trial airport is scheduled for completion in late fall, 2017 — Image courtesy Robert Baker

A word from the transformer

“From the outset of the project, my challenge was to make the building attractive as well as functional, on a tight budget and a tight timeline,” said Stanley. “How do we make it a landmark building with character?”

To its credit, Pacific Apex—the company that was hired to be the supplier and engineer of the steel building—was willing to collaborate with Stanley as much as possible, within a reasonable budget and within building codes.

“The design is very clean and modern,” Stanley said. “Inside, we’ve showcased the massive overhead steel ribs—they are really impressive structural elements. We went a little more design-y with some of the fans and light fixtures that people are going to see.

“Colour strategy for the entire building was inspired by the sky: black night sky, white and grey clouds, blue day sky. The runway side has large windows facing onto the runway and mountains beyond.”

Before year’s end, air travellers to and from Trail will be able to enjoy the comfort and conveniences at the new YZZ terminal building, and the improved safety of its new runway and condition monitoring system.

A combination of federal and provincial funding, supplemented by support from the City of Trail, is making the improvements possible.

Marie Milner

Marie Milner is a writer and photographer for Kootenay Business magazine and several other publications. She appreciates the inspiration that she gets during her interviews and hopes to share that inspiration with you. View all of Marie Milner’s articles

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