Century West is proud to announce that the Runway 8-26 Rehabilitation received the 2024 Project of the Year Award at the Washington Airport Management Association’s annual conference in May.

Century West is proud to have been the engineer and construction manager for the Port of Port Angeles’ (Port) William R. Fairchild International Airport (Airport) Runway 8-26 Rehabilitation project. This project, which wrapped up construction in fall 2023, focused on extending the safety and life of the main runway for years to come. Major project elements included:

  • A 4-inch depth mill and overlay of Runway 8-26
  • A magnetic variation change (MagVar) of Runway 8-26 to Runway 9-27 and updated signage
  • Grooving of the new asphalt and new pavement markings for the runways and taxiways
  • Installation of a new LED runway edge lighting system that spanned the full runway length
  • Replacement and relocation of the MALSR threshold bar owned by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

A ribbon cutting for the project was held in December 2023 with representatives from the Port, Washington State Department of Transportation Aviation, FAA Seattle Airports District Office (ADO), the City of Port Angeles, and Clallam County, among others, coming together to celebrate the successful completion of the project.

Photo (left to right): Joe Roshak (CWE President), Mike Perry (CWE Inspector), Melanie Johansen (CWE Project Manager), Mary Vargas (FAA Seattle ADOE Project Manager), Jon Picker (Port of Port Angeles, Airport Manager)

The runway rehabilitation project faced several challenges that required careful planning and coordination throughout the design and construction phases.

FAA funding for the full 5,000 feet from the Runway 8 threshold to the Runway 26 displaced threshold was only available through the Airport Improvement Program if the runway pavement only required rehabilitation. This was a critical piece of the project planning and engineering analysis and a major hurdle to vet during the predesign phase. The Airport facilitates large aircraft operations up to C17 emergency response operations, down to mid-size business jets and small general aviation aircraft. Maintaining the 5,000 feet of runway while also developing a pavement solution that met the necessary load capabilities and fit within the FAA’s definition of rehabilitation was critical. To address this challenge, a more extensive geotechnical investigation and engineering alternatives analysis was undertaken to develop the final rehabilitation approach that would provide the necessary pavement loading capabilities while staying within the FAA’s rehabilitation definition.

Another significant challenge was the delayed grant funding issued by the FAA, which caused the bid for the project to expire and made it impossible to start construction in 2022 as originally planned. The FY22 grant was awarded in mid-September 2022, and the project had to be rebid for construction in 2023, which resulted in higher bids the second time around. However, Century West and the Port worked with the FAA Seattle ADO to develop a funding plan that involved requesting a grant amendment at closeout to cover the additional cost without borrowing from the Port’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Non-primary Entitlement funds.

Phasing construction on the Airport’s main runway was another consideration that required careful coordination. To mitigate the impacts on Airport operations as much as possible, the team split the runway overlay into two phases to limit full runway closures. During phase one, the Runway 26 threshold was temporarily relocated, providing a shortened runway on the west half of the runway while milling/overlaying the east half. During phase two, access across Runway 8-26 to the crosswind runway was maintained while the west half of Runway 8-26 was milled and paved. In addition, the grooving was conducted as night work only so the runway could remain open during daylight hours. This approach minimized impacts on airport operations while still completing the project efficiently.

Jon Picker, the Port’s Airport Manager, is proud of the team’s dedication to coordinating airspace issues during construction. “This was an all-hands effort where the FAA, Century West, the Port, [Fixed Base Operators], and the larger aircraft community worked as a team to ensure safe operations through construction. I am proud to point out that we had ZERO reportable incidents.”

As with any project of this magnitude, some unknowns were encountered during construction. Most significant was finding an area where the existing subgrade had failed, and the remaining milled asphalt began raveling. This area had to be over-excavated and rebuilt. However, thanks to close teamwork between the Port, the contractor, and the engineer, this unexpected additional work was completed in record time while still maintaining the overall construction schedule, and the associated change order was approved and funded by FAA.

Relying on the steady guidance of Century West Project Manager Melanie Johansen, PE and the dedication of numerous others during both design and construction, this $7 million construction project was completed within the original program budget with a final construction cost less than 1% over the bid amount. Century West is proud to serve as the Port’s on-call engineering consultant, and we look forward to continuing to provide them with award-winning client service on future projects.