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KFOX14 Investigates: Airway art installation up and running after almost a year

Airway turbines (KFOX14/CBS4)

Traffic was backed up along I-10 and Airway Wednesday afternoon as crews worked to replace a blade on the Airway art installation, which has been broken since January.

2017 started with the spinning sculpture coming to a standstill; it’ll end with it running again.

The wind turbines at Airway and I-10 have been quiet for almost a year, rendered motionless in January after a windy day resulted in a broken blade.

As KFOX14 Investigates reported in September, the city was still trying to find a new vendor to build the necessary part.

At the time, the city estimated it would take eight weeks to fix.

Those eight weeks came and went.

KFOX14 Investigates called this week, to find out when the turbines would be fixed.

Wednesday afternoon, crews were fixing the part.

"After several months of looking, we have obtained replacement parts for the turbines. The parts were not something that could be bought off a shelf. They were created specifically for this public art piece,” said Tammy Fonce, public information officer for the City of El Paso.

The city says the part itself cost $5,000 but they don't know yet how much the labor will cost.

But the blade expense might be relatively minor compared to the installation's other expenses.

We are now getting a glimpse at how much the installation costs to maintain.

The attorney general instructed the city to release a contract and maintenance records to KFOX14 Investigates.

Those records show the city pays Tri State Electric nearly $344,000 for maintenance on the Airway structure.

That includes weekly inspections as well as emergency response.

In addition to that, bids submitted last year show the cost of replacing lighting fixtures could run between $40,000 and $45,000.

As previously reported, the city pays about $10,000 a year for electricity at that site.

KFOX14 Investigates will update you when the city provides us with a cost of labor for the blade.

But at least for now, the Airway project is back up and running for the new year.

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