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Mon, Jan. 25

GC airport tower project<br>progresses with cab install

TUSAYAN — The construction of the new Federal Aviation Administration airport tower at Grand Canyon National Park Airport reached a milestone Friday with the installation of the cab.

The airport tower cab got this high Thursday with a single crane.

The 46,000-pound cab went atop the airport tower a day later than expected, however. Kiewit Western, the construction contractor, attempted to do the install Thursday morning. But problems were encountered.

"The crane was not tall enough to place it," said Russ Pankey, acting airport manager. "So, they brought in a second crane. They just miscalculated, I guess."

After an early-morning briefing about safety on Thursday, workers began to lift the cab with the lone crane at around 7:30 a.m. At one point, the crane was extended to its full 150 feet, but that was not quite tall enough. It was lowered back to the ground and orders went out for the second crane.

Pankey said Kiewit Western wanted to do the install in the early morning because wind is typically calm during those hours. When completed, the tower will extend 125 feet into the air.

The steel cab was constructed on the ground and the 46,000-pound weight included part of an elevator shaft on its bottom. The FAA’s Randy Moore said the cab was precut and prewelded at Ackerman Welding and Steel Supply in Flagstaff.

The $8.5-million airport tower project is slated for a Feb. 19 completion date. Pankey said construction is currently a little ahead of schedule.

Moore added that on the completion date, the FAA will take over and begin to install its equipment. The tower would then be commissioned in August 2002.

Another part of the project includes a 300-foot semicircle of large rocks in the forest, placed there as part of FAA security. All new government buildings are being constructed with various barriers in place.

Moore said a perimeter fence with electronic key entry will rise 10 feet high and will include security cameras. The presence of the fence and barrier in the forest could affect hunters, who will be carrying firearms in an area of a government-secured facility.

Moore said the new tower will employ 17 FAA workers. Currently, the FAA has 10 employees at the tower not in operation.

As for that old tower, there’s been no decision on what to do with it.

"We had a request from Show Low, but nothing’s been decided," Pankey said. "We could use it for a couple of things here."

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