Pierce County Airport - Thun Field Master Plan
Nov. 20, 2023
Thun Field Draft Environmental Assessment Now Available
The Draft Environmental Assessment for Pierce County Airport - Thun Field is now available for review and accepting public comments from Nov. 20 – Dec. 20, 2023.
The Draft Environmental Assessment evaluates the potential environmental impacts for the proposed projects, identified in the 2021 Thun Field Airport Master Plan. To address safety and FAA compliance standards, these projects include:
- Obstruction/tree removal
- Runway widening, extension & strengthening
- Taxiway relocation & reconfiguration
The above projects will not change the existing airport footprint.
How to Participate & Provide a Public Comment
Online Open House
Visit the self-guided online open house between Nov. 20 and Dec. 20, 2023.
Attend an in-person meeting for a presentation on the Draft Environmental Assessment. (We will be sharing the same information as the online open house.)
- Date: Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2023
- Time: 5 - 6:30 p.m.
- Location: South Hill Pierce County Library at 15420 Meridian Ave E, Puyallup, WA 98375
All comments are due by 5 p.m. PST on Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2023.
Before the Draft EA is published, we provided a brief presentation on the process at the Thun Field Advisory Commission Meeting on Nov. 14, 2023. View the recording below:
Key activities and improvements called out for implementation as part the Thun Field Master Plan are be funded through a series of grants from the FAA, Pierce County, and the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). Funded improvements are dependent on all partners providing funding.
Thun Field is located in South Hill community and serves the general aviation needs of Tacoma, Puyallup, and the larger area of Pierce County, Washington.
Thun Field accommodated an estimated 106,300 aircraft takeoffs and landings and had 253 based aircraft in 2018, with that number expected to increase to 137,200 and 312, respectively, in 2037.
The airport is owned and operated by Pierce County and is classified as a regional general aviation airport by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Pierce County initiated the work to update the Master Plan, including the Airport Layout Plan, for Pierce County Airport - Thun Field (Thun Field) in October 2017. The Master Plan serves as a 20-year improvement plan for the airport and identifies long-term needs for facilities, equipment, and services to position Thun Field to accommodate community growth.
The Master Plan Advisory Committee (MPAC) – made up of representatives from the aviation community, businesses, local and state government and more – participated in working sessions throughout the process to develop recommendations.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)/Seattle ADO approved the Airport Layout Plan for Thun Field on June 9, 2021, making Thun Field’s facility improvement plan eligible for FAA grant funding.
The Final Master Plan was approved by Resolution No. R2023-70 by the Pierce County Council on June 6, 2023.
The Master Plan focuses on these areas:
- Positioning the airport to meet community growth and interests
- Accommodate existing and future aviation demands as envisioned by Pierce County
- Align recommendations with Pierce County revenue and return benefit
- Meet FAA safety standards and grant assurances
The goal of the Thun Field 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.
The Thun Field Master Plan includes the following narrative report chapters used to document findings and decisions made during the planning process. Narrative chapters will be uploaded to this webpage following review by Pierce County, the FAA, and the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT).
An Environmental Assessment is being conducted for the FAA to determine the environmental impacts of the selected runway extension and widening. The assessment will also identify aeronautical hazards or obstructions based on FAA guidelines.
The Draft Environmental Assessment is now available for a 30-day public comment period. See above for more details.
Nov. 21, 2000: Pierce County Council approves the 2000 Master Plan
September 2017: Pierce County selected Mead & Hunt to evaluate the then-current state of the airport, develop recommendations on how best to meet the community’s 20-year development needs, and prepare a draft Master Plan, including the Airport Layout Plan.
October 2017: 2021 Master Plan Development kicks off.
June 9, 2021: FAA approves the Airport Layout Plan.
Aug. 31-Sept. 22, 2021: Pierce County hosts Master Plan Online Open House.
May 2022: Century West, the County’s on-call aviation planning consultant, begins drafting the Environmental Assessment.
June 6, 2023: Pierce County Council approves the Final Master Plan by Resolution No. R2023-70.
November 2023: Pierce County to publish Draft Environmental Assessment and Public Comment period.
- FAA to provide Determination on the Environmental Assessment
- FAA to issue finding of environmental impact.
Spring 2024: Complete design for Obstruction Removal project.
Fall 2024: Construct Obstruction Removal project.
2025: Complete design for Runway 17-35 Widening, Extension, and Strengthening project.
Summer 2026: Construct Runway 17-35 Widening, Extension, and Strengthening project.
Spring 2028: Complete design for Taxiway Relocation and Reconfiguration project.
Summer 2028: Construct Taxiway Relocation and Reconfiguration project.
The Master Plan Advisory Committee (MPAC) – made up of representatives from the aviation community, businesses, local and state government and more – participated in working sessions throughout the process to develop recommendations. Pierce County's consultant - Mead & Hunt - provided a presentation and lead a discussion with the MPAC members.
Introduced the master plan project team and stakeholders and provided an opportunity for an on-site tour of PLU Airport Facilities. The meeting was held Sept. 27, 2017.
Meeting 2Established the MPAC strategic vision for the master plan, reviewed preliminary findings, and identify factors important to developing the aviation demand forecasts. Meeting was held Oct. 17, 2017.
Review inventory findings and discuss forecast and initial airfield alternatives considerations. This is an important meeting for starting to formulate a plan direction. Meeting held Jan. 8, 2018.
Review preferred forecasts, runway length and terminal area options. Meeting held March 19, 2018.
Decide preferred runway extension scenario, future west and east side terminal/hangar expansion and development. Meeting was held May 14, 2018.
Decide final forecast chapter acceptance, runway extension scenarios, and west and east side terminal planning. Meeting held Nov. 14, 2018.