Auburn Municipal Airport, Runway 16-34 Extension

Auburn, WA


Century West assisted the City of Auburn in their efforts to extend Runway 16-34, the Airport’s sole runway. Century West’s role began during the Master Plan that was completed in 2015 and identified a need for a runway extension on both runway ends. Being constrained in an urban environment, the Airport would have to utilize declared distances to hold the existing runway threshold locations. Century West performed the Environmental Assessment for the runway extension in 2017; however, the FAA required additional documentation to support the runway extension. Through an additional planning exercise, the Century West team was able to demonstrate the need for the runway extension that allowed the FAA to approve the project and begin design.

Due to uncertainty of the FAA grant award timeline, the City of Auburn and Century West determined it was best to construct the Runway Extension project in Spring 2020. This would allow the FAA to issue the grant for the project and the City to sign the contract with the Contractor. Additionally, all of the submittals for the project could be reviewed and approved over the winter, allowing the Contractor to procure long lead-time items required for Construction. This would result in a streamlined schedule with low risk for schedule delays. Bids for the project were opened in in early August 2019, and the FAA grant was subsequently issued a few weeks later at the end of September.

Construction for the work began in April 2020. The project was carefully phased to reduce impacts to Airport users. Work on the 200-foot Runway 16 extension was completed first, and then work shifted to the 241-foot Runway 34 extension. Both areas of work used temporary displaced thresholds to allow the runway to remain open but providing a clear safety zone for construction activities.

The project also included significant electrical improvements. The Medium Intensity Runway Edge Light (MIRL) system was replaced to meet light spacing requirements and accommodate the new displaced thresholds. All of the Airport’s guidance signs were replaced due to deteriorating equipment and to rename the Airport taxiways to meet standard FAA naming convention (A1, A2, etc.). Additionally, the Runway 34 Runway End Identifier Lights (REILs) were replaced due to existing lights exceeding their design life. The MIRL replacement work was performed in the evenings to reduce impacts to businesses on Airport. The runway was reopened each morning for use.

Being situated in a valley adjacent the Puget Sound, the project had a significant stormwater component. The Airport is completely built out except for an area west of the runway that is prone to sensitive environmental impacts. As a result, stormwater storage was a key problem to be solved by the design team. Century West discussed with the City and determined the best course of action, that would be funded by the FAA, was to install an underground stormwater detention facility. Two such holding facilities were constructed, one associated with each runway extension area. In addition, the project was able to remove an existing netted stormwater facility that posed a threat to aircraft by attracting wildlife. The underground detention facilities were instrumental in adhering to strict stormwater requirements while not creating a wildlife attractant hazard.

Because the project included new pavement markings associated with the runway extension areas, the project included restriping the existing runway centerline and numerals as well. However, it was discovered during construction that the runway centerline stripes were previously constructed approximately one foot east from the actual runway centerline. Additionally, the existing striping was placed on a slurry seal material that had reached the end of its design life. Century West made the case to the FAA to remove the existing pavement markings, apply a new seal coat, and restripe the runway centerline to meet standards. The FAA agreed to fund the additional work as a part of the project.

Completed on time and within available funds, the project was an enormous success and now provides pilots additional runway length for added safety.

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