Runway shift going smoothly

Despite some supply issues that delayed re-striping by a couple of weeks, overall the operation of “moving” the Bremerton National Airport’s runway is progressing nicely, according to Fred Salisbury, director of airport and industrial operations.

“It’s going very smoothly. I’m pretty happy,” Salisbury said, explaining that most of the work is now done, save for putting up lights and stripes along the new pavement.

The work this summer shifted about 1,000 feet of the airport’s runway to address long-standing safety concerns about its proximity to State Route 3.

Before the move, the 6,200-foot-long runway came within a few hundred feet of SR-3, while the Federal Aviation Administration requirements call for, at a minimum, a 500-foot by 1,000-foot area of clearance at both ends of the runway.

To comply with the requirements, the port “abandoned” 1,190 feet of pavement, then paved a similar area south of the runway, effectively moving the runway 990 feet to the south and leaving the north end clear of the highway encroachment.

“We won’t be completely whole at the end of this,” Salisbury said, explaining that the runway will lose 200 feet in the process. “But we will have a full 6,000 feet for landing and takeoff.”

Last September, the port received a $4.5 million grant from the FAA to cover most — 95 percent — of the cost of the project.

Before the work is completed, however, Salisbury said the runway must be closed one more time to allow crews to re-stripe the pavement, though luckily for only two days now rather than three.

Currently, the closure is scheduled for Sept. 19 and 20, with the grand re-opening planned for later that week, he said.

While the crews wait for the the supplies to arrive for the striping, Salisbury said, the only work left to do will be for the electricians, who will be setting up lights along the runway.

For now, he said, the old pavement will remain in place and not be dug up, since it contains necessary components of the lighting system.

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