The main runway at Paine Field will be getting some repairs after maintenance work earlier this month failed to produce expected results.
An oil-based fog seal treatment designed to prolong asphalt life appears to be not performing as expected. That’s led to an unusual amount of loose material on the runway and surface friction numbers intermittently below acceptable levels.
Airport officials initially were hopeful that issues were temporary. After discussions with engineers, paving experts and the Federal Aviation Administration, it was determined repairs are necessary.
The airport is moving swiftly to arrange for the work, which will require the runway to close temporarily. The work is expected to take five days or less, once crews are in place. Conversations have already begun with airport tenants about timing.
The project is expected to cost approximately $5.5 million. The Federal Aviation Administration has offered more than $1.3 million to help pay for the work. Early this week the agency had announced it would spend more than $316,000 on related runway upgrades. The rest of the money for repairs likely would come from previously budgeted airport funds set aside for work that was scheduled but not undertaken.
“We are thankful to receive additional money from FAA for our important runway rehabilitation project,” airport engineer Ken Nichols said. “The additional money from the FAA is a reflection of a good relationship with the FAA Airports District Office and the high priority of runway rehabilitation projects nationally.”
The project aims to create a new runway surface by milling down and overlaying a strip running up much of the 9,010-foot runway’s centerline. This newly paved area would be 60 feet wide and about 8,000 feet long.
The runway was closed from July 1 to July 8 for maintenance. It also was closed late July 11 after surface friction numbers dipped below acceptable levels, but reopened the next morning. Airport operations and maintenance crews have since been conducting friction tests and sweeping to make certain conditions remain safe.
Paine Field Airport is owned and operated by Snohomish County.