FAA approves Harvey Field footprint expansion
SNOHOMISH — On Dec. 4, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved Harvey Field’s proposed new layout after a nearly four-year process.
The decision moves the airport’s modernization a significant step closer to reality.
It will likely be at least two years before construction commences, but an environmental assessment process will begin in 2019, airport owner Kandace Harvey said. She estimates that process could take 12 to 18 months. Permitting will follow.
Harvey estimates construction would begin no sooner than 2021.
The renovation will shift the airstrip to the south on a new 2,600 foot long, 75-foot wide paved runway.
That runway would replace the airport’s 2,550 feet long, 100-foot wide turf runway and its 2,750-foot long, 36-foot wide blacktop runway.
Currently, 452 feet of the north end of the runway can’t be used for landings because pilots must clear BNSF Railway tracks on the north end. On the south end, 250 feet are barred from landings to allow clearance for Airport Way. The restrictions would be eliminated through the new layout.
“The primary focus, purpose and goal is to construct a new runway that meets FAA safety and design standards,” Harvey said.
The new runway design and southerly move would also mean pilots could reach a higher altitude when flying over the city, which in concept would mean less noise, Harvey said.
The design upgrade would also eliminate payload restrictions: pilots would be able to fly in and out as much as their crafts are designed to carry.
“The airport will become a much more desirable air transportation facility” as a result, Harvey said.
She expects the upgrade will encourage transient and new users to relocate to the airport and put Harvey Field in a better position to serve overflow customers from Paine Field.
Harvey also proposes to construct a new terminal, more hangars including a corporate hangar, and a maintenance facility. The plans boast additional student dorms, relocated and improved heliport and more parking for planes.
A stretch of Airport Way will be rerouted in a loop to the south to accommodate the new layout.
For commuters concerned about traffic, “The Airport Way relocate is consideration number one,” Harvey said.
“I am optimistic that the Airport Way road relocation improvement will help ease the current traffic congestion issues faced today and also improve the overall safety for those using Airport Way on the ground and pilots using the Harvey Field runways, due to the separation of the runway approach and departure from the current road,” Harvey said.
The agency’s approval indicates the proposed development is safe, efficient and conforms to airport design standards, according to the FAA.
Additional steps before construction can begin include a traffic impact study and traffic mitigation plan if necessary, Harvey said.
An environmental assessment will be paid for by airport ownership, the FAA and the Washington State Department of Transportation Aviation Division. It will include attention to the area floodplain which has been a concern of residents.
Funding will come from taxes paid by users of the air transportation system, not the general public, Harvey said.
The FAA approval is not a commitment of any funding, but is required for a development to be eligible for Airport Improvement Program funding.
Harvey Field is an FAA approved non-standard airport without a control tower. The 200-acre operation employs more than more than 100 people and is home to about 17 businesses. Harvey Field pays about $1 million in taxes annually. In 2017, it was estimated to bring in about $9.2 million in visitor spending.
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