Tacoma Narrows Airport runway reopens following rehab project

The runway at Tacoma Narrows Airport in Gig Harbor reopened Sunday following a 45-day, $5.7 million rehabilitation project.

The runway’s width was reduced from 150 feet to the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) standard of 100 feet for airports of this type. The runway length remains at 5,002 feet. Similarly, the taxiways were reduced to 50 feet, down from a varied width of 75 to 120 feet. Cracks were sealed and repaired, and four inches of asphalt overlay created a new surface. The runway is now crowned at the center for improved drainage. Additional project highlights include a new drainage system along the runway and connector taxiways, new runway markings and signage, and improved lighting. The runway has not been repaved since it was built more than 50 years ago.

While the runway was closed for the work, Taxiway A was converted to a temporary runway. The airport was open from 5:30 a.m. to 8:45 p.m. during the work.

“We know pilots will enjoy the renovated runway,” said Pierce County Public Works and Utilities airport and ferry administrator Deb Wallace. “The runway surface was showing its age with visible cracks, so the overhaul is a marked improvement. It is important that we keep our airport in good shape so it can be used effectively for years to come. And by investing in a narrower runway, our long-term maintenance costs will be reduced.”

There is still more work to be done to complete the runway rehabilitation project.

According to Pierce County officials, the runway will be closed from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. through the night of Weds., June 19 before it resumes its normal 24-hour, seven-days-a week operation at 6 a.m. on Thurs., June 20. Work continues on Taxiway A2, which is expected to reopen this week. A section of Taxiway A will also be closed until Taxiway A2 reopens. Additionally, the runway will be open 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 so crews can groove the runway and apply the final markings to the runway and connector taxiways. This work is expected to begin in mid- to late-July.

The $5.7 million price tag for the project includes $5.2 million in FAA grants, a $326,000 Washington State Department of Ecology (DOE) grant, $135,236 in Washington State Department of Transportation Aviation grants, and $95,160 in county airport funds. The project was eligible for the DOE grant due to the drainage improvements that were made to enhance water quality. WHPacific designed the project, and is managing it with oversight from Pierce County Public Works and Utilities. Tucci and Sons, Inc. is the general contractor.

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

Pierce County's Tacoma Narrows Airport in Gig Harbor. (PHOTO COURTESY PIERCE COUNTY)