$80 million in projects at Paine Field

By Sara Bruestle | Aug 21, 2013

Paine Field is in the middle of multiple construction projects totaling more than $80 million this summer, about $8 million of which are airport upgrades.

These projects include the rebuilding of the Snohomish County Airport’s smallest runway, the reconstruction of side roads, and roof replacements. Other projects are by private developers at Paine Field.

“We postponed a number of projects in the past several years during the economic downturn, but Paine Field is currently in the midst of one of its busiest construction seasons in history,” said Airport Director Dave Waggoner.

The biggest upgrade is to the airport’s general aviation runway for $6.5 million, most of which is funded by a Federal Aviation Administration grant. The 3,000-foot runway, built in 1987, runs parallel to the main runway.

Reconstruction includes leveling the runway, improving drainage and realigning taxiway intersections.

The perimeter road around the north end of the runway will also be lowered to remove the height restriction for vehicles driving that road.

As the general aviation runway is closed for construction, the airport is down to a single runway. The runway is scheduled to open by the end of this month, not July as originally expected.

“On the roadway, we came up on utilities that were not where they were supposed to be, and had to adjust the design and make accommodations, causing the project to slip in schedule,” said Bill Dolan, deputy director of the airport.

Paine Field is also reconstructing three roadways, scheduled to be completed by Sept. 30.

The first is 113th Place S.W. near Boeing Co. Hangar 3. The project will be phased to allow continuous access to the airport’s south parking lot.

The second road to be replaced is 30th Avenue W. Traffic will be re-routed to 29th Avenue W. during construction. The third is 29th Avenue W., and includes a gate upgrade.

The $2 million road projects are part of a larger effort to improve drainage and access at the airport. The work will include sidewalk, lighting and landscaping improvements.

Half of the roadwork costs is funded by a Department of Ecology grant.

Three buildings will receive roof replacements, also to be completed by Sept. 30: Precision Engines, the adjacent Airport Administration Office and the Central Ramp T Hangar.

All together, the roofing projects are about $1 million, paid for by an FAA grant.

“The Central Ramp one is probably the most significant that has been affected by the economy,” Dolan said. “We’ve been trying to get that project funded through the Airport Improvement Program and grant funding from the FAA for a number of years.”

Also under construction is the Boeing Dreamlifter Operation Center, a logistics facility for the aerospace company’s fleet of Dreamlifter transport jets. The $35 million project is scheduled to be completed in October.

The 30,000-square-foot facility is located just south of the Future of Flight. Boeing will be relocating all of its Dreamlifter operations to the building, including loading and unloading, storage and maintenance.

Dolan said the county is paying to build it, and then will lease it back to Boeing.

At the south end of Paine Field, a new 240,000-square-foot factory for B/E Aerospace is being built. The $45 million building is adjacent to Korry Electronics on Commando Road.

B/E will move all of its airplane-interiors manufacturing and certification operations from Marysville and Everett to the new factory. It is expected to be completed this summer.

The B/E facility is not an airport-funded project, although Paine Field is leasing the land, Dolan said.

The summer season is a busy one for Paine Field, but construction like this is not new, Waggoner said.

“If you look back for five or six years, this has happened nearly every year,” he said. “We have had a lot of economic development [at] the airport.”

For more information and updates about the projects, go to www.painefield.com.

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