July 10--The runway at Bowerman Airport may be narrower someday soon.
As part of a master plan process for the airport, the Port of Grays Harbor is looking at future projects such as paving and drainage, and Federal Aviation Administration representative Stan Allison told commissioners this week that the airport's traffic doesn't justify the current 150-foot width.
Based on a 20-year forecast, Allison said the airport only needs a 100-foot runway. That will support all aircraft that currently use the runway, and that will be the maximum width the agency will provide funding for in future paving projects.
Through the FAA's Airport Improvement Program, 90 percent of future paving would be paid for by the federal agency, and state funds are available for another 5 percent, leaving the Port to cover 5 percent of necessary paving.
"The AIP is very clear, we cannot spend money on things that are not needed," Allison said.
"One of the things that the FAA is doing all over on airports where they contribute funding to, or partial funding to, they're narrowing back those runways ... based on the business that you have," Port Deputy Executive Director Leonard Barnes said. "They won't be able to maintain the 150-foot width with their money -- doesn't mean we couldn't spend extra money to do it, but the reality is we're heading that way."
Barnes said paving likely won't be needed for several years, so no immediate changes are expected.
"We're very supportive of your airport, we'll continue to be and when we get to a point where we need to look at paving, we'll figure out we'll keep it at," Allison said.
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