The US Government has approved a $13.5m grant to upgrade the runway at Garfield County Regional Airport.

The project comprises three phases and the funding will be spent in the second phase, reports.

The second phase of the project will upgrade the runway safety area to better accommodate jet aircraft at the mountain airport and is expected to be complete within a few months.

The runway safety area will be expanded to 500ft from 300ft. The slope of the runway will be reduced by lowering the east end approximately 7ft and raising the west end.

The second phase will include relocating 1.8 million cubic yards of dirt and gravel into the new safety area and constructing embankments of over 60ft high.

The second phase bidding process will start in the next week, while the third phase of the project, estimated at $17m, is expected to start its bidding process by February 2010.

The first phase of the project costs around $3.5m.