Airport master plan shows safety zones for future expansion

Gig HarborFebruary 19, 2014 

Am I the only one who remembers the community revolt when the cap/tunnel was constructed at the north end of the Narrows Airport?

It was sold to us as providing a “safety zone” and could not and would not ever provide for an extension of the runway. We were told (promised) that the $8 million project was built only to protect the driving public from being hit by planes — even though nothing like that had ever happened in the history of the airport.

No one believed that then, and they certainly don’t believe that now. Last year, we were told the new runway overlay paving project had nothing to do with increasing the landing load for larger and louder planes, either.

So now we’re supposed to believe that the “safety zone,” which will be re-defined as a “runway extension protection zone,” will never really be used to extend the runway, except maybe way off in the distant future — like 20 years from now — and probably not even then. It’s no big deal if the FAA approves the new Airport Master Plan, which includes the “runway protection zone” as part of the overall airport improvement plan because they have no current plans to extend the runway. Right?

The airport stakeholders have been meeting for a couple of years on this master plan, and they approved a 1,000-foot extension to the north end of the runway a couple of weeks ago, plus a 300-foot extension to the south end of the runway. They have shown those extensions on the master plan as runway protection zone, and you can bet that means a runway extensions some day.

This is now a Pierce County airport, and Stan Flemming is our representative at the county level. He has requested one additional hearing, where the community will have an opportunity to be heard.

Let him know you want to be notified as to when and where this meeting be held so the people of Gig Harbor have a voice in this decision.

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