Work on the expansion and improvement project at the Talkeetna State Airport is scheduled to resume later this week.
Last year, tree clearing and other preparatory work was done as part of the project, which will result in additional aircraft parking areas and taxiways.
The number of trees that were taken down last summer and fall concerned some area residents who live near the airport. While the Alaska Department of Transportation says a twenty-five foot buffer from the airport’s property line was kept in place, the presence of other cleared rights-of-way meant that some properties on Easy Street were left without any vegetative buffer to the airport.
This week, additional tree clearing is planned for the east side of the Talkeetna airport. Jill Reese, Public Information Officer for DOT, says this clearing is part of the original plan to comply with federal requirements for clearance near a runway that allows for instrument approaches. This portion of airport property lies partially on wetlands, which Reese says necessitates that the clearing happen while the ground is still frozen. She says 190 feet of trees are planned for clearing east of the runway.
In addition, Jill Reese says about one-half-acre between the railroad tracks and the Talkeetna Spur Road is planned for clearing.
In addition to the tree clearing, Reese says the planned walkway along Second Street is being re-surveyed. At public meetings last year, locals expressed a desire to preserve as many of the trees along Second Street as possible. Reese says the survey will determine which trees need to come down in order to accommodate the planned pathway. She adds that one tree in particular, a Mountain Ash near the offices of K2 Aviation, will be spared.
The tree-cutting operation is expected to last two-to-three weeks. After that, the project will be put on hold again until May. Reese says the air taxi services operating from the Talkeetna airport should not experience significant business disruption as the project moves forward.