Weather system installation delayed at airport

Winter weather delays have moved the installation date for a new weather reporting system at Methow Valley State Airport to late spring 2016. The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) previously estimated that the weather reporting system — also known as an Automated Weather Observing System — would be operational by February 2016. No additional costs are expected due to the delay.

Once activated, the system will broadcast weather information via radio to pilots flying in the Methow Valley and also provide flight planning information via telephone.

WSDOT investigated options for providing real-time weather information in the Methow Valley. The closest weather reporting system to Winthrop is less than 30 miles to the east at the Omak Municipal Airport. Despite the short distance, Omak can experience significantly different weather than the Methow Valley due to the altitude and mountainous terrain that separates the two areas, WSDOT said.

Winthrop to sell Horizon Flats parcel

The Town of Winthrop will sell a 1.35-acre lot in the Horizon Flats neighborhood as surplus property, the Town Council agreed at its meeting last week.

The property on Horizon Flats Road is valued at $81,900 by Okanogan County. It has been exempt from taxes, but will become taxable when sold to a private party.

The town will determine a fair market value for the property before putting it on the market.

In other business, it was announced that the town will seek applicants to replace council member Jessica Sheehan, who is moving out of the community.

PUD signs powerline contracts

The Okanogan County Public Utility District (PUD) has signed contracts for construction of the Pateros-Twisp powerline and related engineering and substations.

The PUD executed a 161-page contract for $5,018,003, plus tax, with Michel Power for construction of the transmission line, PUD General Manger John Grubich reported at the PUD’s Feb. 22 board meeting.

Construction can start as soon as weather permits, and has to be completed by Dec. 31, according to the contract.

Plans call for 424 poles, the majority steel, plus some wood and a small number of laminated poles. Plans also include installation of 857 bird flight diverters.

The PUD also executed contracts with Ripplinger Engineering Laboratories for electrical and design work for the Twisp and Gold Creek substations and for general engineering for the transmission system. The total for those three projects is $174,210 – $96,000 for the Twisp substation, $58,000 for Gold Creek, and $20,000 for general engineering.

Those projects include reviewing original plans for the substations, design and drafting.