The multi-engine, piston aircraft the city of Auburn has long wanted to attract to its airport are big, demanding 3,500 to 4,000 feet of runway length to come to a complete stop at takeoff should something go wrong.
But the airport’s runway is only 3,400 feet long.
In April, Pivetta Brothers Construction of Sumner starts work on a project that will extend the Auburn Municipal Airport’s total runway length to 3,841 lineal feet, 200 feet on the north and 241 feet on the south end, to increase capacity, improve safety, and support stormwater management improvements.
And make the airport more profitable.
“We would like to have gone a little farther, but we can’t due to site constraints,” Project Engineer Seth Wickstrom told the Auburn City Council at a work session Monday night at City Hall.
Work on the north will reconfigure the taxi-way and extend the runway 200 feet. Activity has to stop there because the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires a 200-foot long, runway safety at the end of the runway. Plans also call for underground storm detention chambers to square the project with the city’s stormwater management program.
Work on the south end will install a second, underground stormwater detention pond and extend the runway almost all the way to the edge of the airport property, Wickstrom said.
“The reason the FAA allowed this is because in the near future is we are going to be purchasing a portion of the property south of the runway owned by King County – park and ride – and building the runway safety area there,” Wikstrom said.
King County surplused that park-and-ride property in 2012.
City officials expect construction to wrap by July 2020.
On Sept. 27, 2019,. the airport received a $2.7 million construction grant from the FAA plus $150,000 from the Airport Improvement Program’s mandatory funding commitments, which the airport receives every year to apply to whatever projects it has identified.
The airport will continue to be open during construction, with restricted times of closure for some of the work to be completed, mostly at night.