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Airport completes shift of runway

With just a quick snip of blue ribbon, the Port of Bremerton Board of Commissioners celebrated the much-anticipated grand opening of its safer — albeit shorter — runway at the Bremerton National Airport Tuesday.

“This signals the end of a long series of very complex projects,” said Commissioner Cheryl Kincer, who helped fellow Commissioner Mary Ann Huntington and Director of Airport and Industrial Operations Fred Salisbury cut the ceremonial cord.

The port, which oversees the airport, moved the 6,200-foot-long runway because it was too close to State Route 3, not meeting the Federal Aviation Administration’s specifications for minimum clearance at its north end.

To meet the requirements, about 1,200 feet of the runway was “moved,” although not dug up, to the south end. However, only about 1,000 feet of new pavement was added, making the runway in fact shorter.

“But we have a full 6,000 feet for landing and takeoff,” Salisbury said.

Even though the runway is not technically longer, Salisbury said overall the project will improve the airport’s operations and was a very positive endeavor, especially since 95 percent of the $4.5 million project was paid for with federal grant money.

But perhaps the best news shared Tuesday was that the project was now finally finished.

“It’s been a long project, but it’s been a great project, and I’ve been working with a super team,” Salisbury said, admitting that the runway shift and the other projects involved had taken up a considerable amount of his time the past few years.

“I don’t know how you’ve gotten through all this,” said Commissioner Cheryl Kincer. “This is incredible. Thank you.”

Commissioner Mary Ann Huntington agreed, saying she was “so excited” that the runway was complete, but also to have “Fred back.”

“He was more nervous about this than his first child,” Huntington joked, to which Salisbury joked back: “Well, this was more expensive than my first child.”

Both Bremerton Mayor Carey Bozeman and Port Orchard Mayor Kim Abel attended the ceremony and praised the port for completing the project.

“This will have a great impact on our community, and it helps complete the vision of what this corridor can become,” Abel said. “This is the first great step of many to come.”

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