Tacoma Narrows Airport Master Plan

  Project Update

Sept. 22, 2023

Due to funding availability, the obstruction/tree removal and fencing portions of the Airport Master Plan project have been postponed.

The scope of the projects remains unchanged. The first phase of the obstruction/tree removal includes 33 individual trees and 12.5 acres of clearing and grubbing. In accordance with the Environmental Assessment for this project, the tree removal work needs to take place outside of the streaked horned lark breeding/nesting period, which is between March 15 and Sept. 1.

The fencing portion of the project will add approximately 7,000 feet of wildlife fencing. This will help keep wildlife off the runway at the airport.

The project was originally slated to begin this fall. We hope to have the latest information and a timeline update to the community in spring 2024.

  Planning for the Future: Airport Master Plan


The goal of the TIW Master Plan is to provide a strategic framework for airport improvements that will create opportunities for economic development and capitalize on current airport infrastructure assets.

Pierce County completed the Tacoma Narrows Airport Master Plan in April 2016 with a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to fund 90% of the study with Pierce County funding the 10% balance.

The FAA recommends that airports periodically update their master plans as conditions affecting airport operations and development occur.

The Tacoma Narrows Airport Master Plan serves as Pierce County’s strategy for development of the airport for the 20-year planning period and beyond. The plan is consistent with our long-term vision to be a major provider of transportation services and economic development for Pierce County and the surrounding region.

The master plan goals guide the County’s near- to long-term development for both airside and landside facilities at the airport. The following plan goals were identified in coordination with the County, public and other stakeholders:

  • Enhance safety and security
  • Support economic growth
  • Accommodate demand
  • Preserve/protect investment
  • Promote sustainability

These goals provided the framework for defining evaluation criteria used later in the study to evaluate the various development alternatives for the airport.

  Funding


Ninety percent of the project is funded through an Airport Improvement Program (AIP) grant from the FAA. The remaining funds are covered by Pierce County.

If the projects proceed forward, future phases of the projects (design and construction) are also anticipated to be funded by 90% FAA AIP grants for all eligible costs. 

The County will also be applying for matching funds through other sources, including the Washington State Department of Transportation Aviation Division.

  Background


To comply with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) design standards, Pierce County completed an Environmental Assessment (EA) in April 2022 for several projects proposed at the Tacoma Narrows Airport over the next five years (2022 - 2026). These projects included: 

  • Obstruction Removal: Evaluation of trees on airport property that penetrate the airport Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) Part 77 surfaces, and potential removal of obstructions.
  • Taxiway A Relocation, Taxiway B4 Relocation and Apron Expansion.
  • Stormwater Pond Relocation: Relocation of an existing stormwater pond to accommodate the Taxiway A Relocation.

These projects were identified to improve safety at the airport and bring the runway and taxiway at Tacoma Narrows Airport in compliance with current FAA standards.

These projects do not include a runway extension and do not affect the type or size of aircraft that currently operate at the airport.


Environmental Assessment

A public comment period was held from Feb. 16 through March 17, 2022. Comments were shared with the FAA, and responses were captured in Appendix G in the Final Environmental Assessment document. After final review, the FAA issued a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) on April 25, 2022.

These projects were previously identified as part of the Airport Master Plan for Tacoma Narrows Airport, which was completed by Pierce County in 2016. The County then received FAA approval and funding to proceed with the Environmental Assessment. The Environmental Assessment is required so that Pierce County can then apply for FAA funding for design and construction of these projects, over the next five years. 

The projects include:

  • Obstruction Removal & Fencing
    • Remove existing tree obstructions to navigation to improve safety. Install fencing to keep wildlife outside of operational areas.
  • Taxiway A Relocation & Stormwater Pond Relocation (Postponed due to funding availability)
    • Stormwater Pond Relocation: Relocate/replace existing open-air stormwater facility to allow for relocation of parallel Taxiway A.
    • Parallel Taxiway A: Meet FAA design standard for runway- taxiway separation.
    • Taxiway B4: Eliminate direct access to runway to enhance pilot awareness, improve safety, and meet FAA design standards.
  Timeline


2016: Adoption of Tacoma Narrows Airport Master Plan by the Pierce County Council.

2019 - 2021: 

  • Landside Study & Airport Layout Plan Adjustment
  • Pond Environment Assessment

2021 - 2022: Project design

April 21 – May 3, 2021: Pierce County online open house on the proposed Master Plan Update.

Feb. 16 – March 17, 2022: Public comment period on the Draft Environmental Assessment.

April 2022: FAA issues Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) agreement.

2022: Complete Environmental Assessment.

2022 - 2023: 

  • Complete design for Obstruction Removal Project
  • Complete design for Taxiway Relocation/Stormwater Facility Relocation Project

May 2023: Request for proposal issued for Airport Master Plan projects.

July 2023: Re-issue request for proposal for reduced project scope.

August 2023: Award contract.

Fall 2023: Project postponed due to funding availability.