Runway Resolution

, Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Fri, April 20 2012 at 3:34 PM, Updated: Fri, April 20 2012 at 3:45 PM

A tentative agreement has been reached in a dispute over a faulty runway replacement at the Klamath Falls Airport.

Holes in the runway prompted the city to file an 11 million dollar lawsuit against Kerr Contractors and Knife River.  But City Manager Rick Whitlock says a proposed settlement may keep the dispute from going to trial...

"We're really happy about this settlement, because the runway gets fixed this Summer."

Rocks began popping out of the surface of the runway following a 22 million dollar runway replacement project in 2009.  Whitlock adds...

"The runway has continued to deteriorate over the last couple of years, it hasn't stopped."

Under the agreement, the contractor will replace the top four inches of the runway surface.  Mayor Todd Kellstrom notes that the work will be done at night, and commercial and military operations wil not be distrupted...

"The re-paving schedule will accommodate the Guard, so they do not have to relocate - thank goodness."

City Manager Whitlock says the city will be paid a half a million dollars to cover attorney fees...

"It's tremendous that we will not have to go to litigation, and spend all the money and staff time associated with that."

Mayor Kellstrom notes that the agreement goes before city council on Monday...

"Council will need to formalize the acceptance of the settlement, that should happen relatively quickly."

And while a trial had been scheduled to begin in June, construction could be getting underway instead.

Under the terms of the agreement, the runway repairs would be completed by the end of October.

Inspectors say the use of inferior aggregate was a major factor in runway surface problems.  Replacement rock of a better grade will be use to ensure those problems won't happen again.

About the Author

Lyle Ahrens

KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's.  He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.

Lyle's job history is quite colorful.  He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand.  A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer.  In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.

Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.  "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain.  Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".

When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.

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