Bellingham International Airport closing for runway work

The Bellingham Business Journal

At precisely 11 p.m. tonight, after the last flight of the day leaves, the Bellingham International Airport (BLI) will close in order to start a three-week runway repaving project.

The runway is scheduled to re-open at 5 a.m. Sept. 22. During the runway closure, the airport will continue to serve helicopters and the control tower will remain operational.

The $29 million project has been underway since April and will continue in various stages through November. But the next three weeks, Sept. 1 through Sept. 22, will be the most intense as around-the-clock construction crews will distribute 174,000 tons of asphalt — enough to pave six lanes of Interstate 5 for six miles.

This is the first major repair work done on the runway since it opened in 1941 and it will result in an improved runway and taxiway that include better drainage, stronger surfaces and the ability to serve larger aircraft. Upon completion of the project, the airport will be able to serve Boeing 757s.

This is the largest construction project in the port’s 90-year history. The Federal Aviation Administration is providing 95 percent of the funds, with the remaining portion coming from passenger use fees. Icon Materials of Tukwila is the general contractor for this project.

Some airport service will remain open during construction:

•    Airport parking lots will remain in operation and will continue to charge for parking services.

•    The commercial terminal will remain open throughout the runway closure. Car rental businesses and other airport vendors will be operating with reduced hours. Contact them directly for their hours.

•    Allegiant Air will be staffing its ticket counter from 10 a.m. to noon each day. Ticket counters for Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air will be closed until the runway re-opens. All airlines can be reached on-line and by phone during the closure.

•    Private bus services Airporter Shuttle and Quick Shuttle will be operating, providing bus service between the BLI and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

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