Jefferson County International Airport runway project slated to begin next May

Port to host meeting Wednesday to update pilots

PORT TOWNSEND — The Port of Port Townsend will field questions about its $5.2 million runway reconstruction project at the Jefferson County International Airport at a meeting at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

The meeting will be at Tailspin Tommy’s, 300 Airport Road in Port Townsend.

Port Executive Director Jim Pivarnik and Deputy Director Eric Toews will discuss the final project design, the bid process and the plans for next spring.

Construction is expected to begin in May 2020 and close the airport to all flights for 44 days until mid-June, Pivarnik said.

“We’re out to bid right now, and bids are due next week,” he said. “We have engineering work, and work on specifications for what materials we’re going to be using between now and May.”

The port submitted a special application to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and received full funding for a complete rebuild of the runway, Pivarnik said.

The FAA typically pays up to 90 percent for similar projects, and the state and the sponsor often split the remaining 10 percent, he said.

The port will pay 5 percent of a smaller project for a connector taxiway, or about $5,000 toward a $100,000 project, Pivarnik said.

Significant impact

The six-week closure has the potential for a significant impact at the airport, including the Port Townsend Aero Museum and the Spruce Goose Cafe, Pivarnik said.

“The air museum relies on fly-ins, and the Spruce Goose certainly does,” he said. “We’re talking about a cooperative advertising program to get locals to visit the museum and visit the Spruce Goose during construction.”

Pivarnik added that pilots who need to use the planes they keep on site will need to move them before construction begins.

The port delayed the project until next spring to avoid the busiest time of the year during the summer months. It would have been too late in the season to start this fall because of the difficulty of laying asphalt when it’s cold and rainy, Pivarnik said.

“We’re going to be talking about the overall view of what the airport is going to look like and take input from [the pilots],” he said. “We’re not going to be changing anything at this stage, but we want to hear their concerns and talk about how to mitigate those concerns.”

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Jefferson County Managing Editor Brian McLean can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 6, or at [email protected] dailynews.com.

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