Pierce County to begin $5.7M Tacoma Narrows Airport runway rehab

Pierce County will rehabilitate the runway and four adjacent connector taxiways at Tacoma Narrows Airport in Gig Harbor this spring and summer to improve surfaces, add new features and meet federal aviation standards for the airport’s size.

Work will begin April 29, and will be completed in four construction phases. The airport will remain open during the rehabilitation, although some work will require it to close at night. Taxiway “A,” which runs parallel to the existing runway, will serve as a temporary runway during periods when the primary runway is closed.

The runway’s width will be reduced from 150 feet to the Federal Aviation Administration’s standard of 100 feet. The runway length will remain at 5,002 feet. The taxiways will be reduced to 50 feet, down from a varied width of 75 to 120 feet. Cracks will be sealed and repaired, and four inches of asphalt overlay will create a new surface. The runway will also be crowned at the center for improved drainage and grooved for improved traction.

“Pierce County is rehabilitating the runway now to prevent the need for a major rebuild in the future,” said Deb Wallace, Pierce County Public Works and Utilities airport and ferry administrator. “A review of the traffic at Tacoma Narrows Airport — both historic and projected — indicates the narrower runway width will not impede current or future operations.”

Additional project highlights include a new drainage system along the runway and connector taxiways, new runway markings, and improved lighting.

The runway has not been repaved since it was built more than 50 years ago.

The first phase of the project will take place April 29 and 30 when Taxiway “A” will be converted to a temporary runway, and an additional taxiway will be created on the parking apron. Both areas will be striped and signed as appropriate. The primary runway and connector taxiways will remain open during this work.

On May 1, the primary runway and connector taxiways will close for 30 working days for phases two and three. During the work, which is weather dependent, crews will reduce the width of the runways and connector taxiways, seal and repair cracks, apply the asphalt overlay, install new lighting, and add a new drainage system. Crews will work 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Based on historical weather patterns, this work is expected to be completed by mid-June. During these two phases, the airport will be open from 5:30 a.m. to 8:45 p.m., and pilots will use Taxiway “A” as a temporary runway.

When this work is done, the primary runway will reopen for about 30 days to allow the asphalt to cure. The airport will then be closed from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. for 10 working days for phase four. Crews will groove the runway, and apply the final markings to the runway and connector taxiways. This work is expected to be done in mid-July.

During the work, construction-related traffic will use an access road from Stone Drive just west of 26th Avenue NW.

The rehabilitation will cost approximately $5.7 million, including $5.2 million in Federal Aviation Administration grants, a $326,000 Washington State Department of Ecology grant, $135,236 in Washington State Department of Transportation Aviation grants, and $95,160 in county airport funds. The project was eligible for the Department of Ecology grant due to the drainage improvements that will be made.

WHPacific designed the project, and will manage it with oversight from Pierce County Public Works and Utilities. Tucci and Sons, Inc. will be the general contractor.

More information is available online at piercecountywa.org/airport.