Sun Valley Airport Sites Narrowed
The FAA seems happy with an estimate of $189 million as the cost of a new airport to serve the resort area of central Idaho. The federal government is expected to pay virtually all the cost for the replacement of Friedman Memorial Airport in Hailey, which serves Sun Valley and surrounding resorts. The existing airport, which was never designed for the kind of traffic it gets, particularly in winter, has a dismal reliability record in winter thanks to high minimums and the surrounding terrain. An FAA study says at least 22 percent of commercial flights and an unknown number of GA flights are diverted. The current airport can't be practically expanded so the search has been on for a new site. It was narrowed down last week.
The most likely location is south of Hailey (and farther away from Sun Valley) near the Lincoln County line. The FAA has said it wants the new airport to cover at least 600 acres and have a minimum runway length of 8,500 feet. The current runway is 7,500 feet. There is another location being considered but it would cost an extra $50 million to develop.