[8/12/16] Pangborn $30 Million Runway Extension Project Is Finished

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INTRO: A decade of planning and design. A $30 million dollar price tag. Thirteen hundred feet of asphalt. A week-long closure. And now it’s done. The Pangborn Memorial Airport’s runway extension project is complete and airport officials and Commissioners from the Ports of Chelan and Douglas Counties held a dedication ceremony yesterday morning. The airport now boasts a 7,000-foot tarmac, a brand-new taxiway, new striping and high-intensity lighting that increase visibility during foggy weather. That means not only safer Horizon flights, but bigger planes coming to Pangborn. We sent our own Dan Langager to check out the new runway and how, after years of work, it’s now a reality –

081216 AIRPORT MOYERS 1 – 0:17

“…runway extension project.”

Trent Moyers is the director of the Pangborn Memorial Airport. He made several jokes during his speech, dedicating the newly-extended runway, a project well in the works when he stepped into his leadership role three and a half years ago.

081216 AIRPORT MOYERS 2 – 0:18

“…I appreciate that so.”

Before the dedication ceremony, I asked Moyers how it feels, looking out at the new tarmac, after all the hundreds of meetings, design hurdles, budget crunching and a fast-and-furious week-long closure to seal coat the runway. He said – surreal.

081216 AIRPORT MOYERS 3 – 0:18

“…it’s a great feeling honestly.”

The project came in just under the $30 million dollar budget, with 90 percent of that coming from Federal Aviation Administration grants, secured partly through the efforts of state Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray. The Ports of Chelan and Douglas Counties covered most of the remaining 10 percent.

Zak Sargent with Stan Tech is the project engineer.

081216 AIRPORT SARGENT 1 – 0:24

“…on time under budget.”

JC Baldwin, Commission Chair for the Port of Chelan County, echoed similar feelings to Moyers – pride and gratitude at all the hard work. She said she’s overwhelmed and hopes the entire region shares in that.

081216 AIRPORT BALDWIN 1 – 1:07

“…runway extension project.”

Many of the current and past commissioners from both county ports at the event used the phrase “If you build it they will come.” The They being other airlines and destinations. Courting of those services has been underway for some time, but none of them would enter into serious dialogues until they saw the 7,000 foot runway, said Craig Larsen, the Chelan County Port’s Business Development Director.

081216 AIRPORT LARSEN 1 – 0:30

“…direct from Pangborn.”

Some of those destinations potentially coming to Pangborn include Portland Oregon, Las Vegas Nevada, Phoenix Arizona and Denver Colorado and Southern California.

081216 AIRPORT LARSEN 2 – 0:13

“…we can get this done.”

Larsen said they’re attending an air service conference in October, have headquarter visits planned after that and “just keep pushing forward.”

The runway was completed July 25, but the dedication ceremony was held yesterday because it was 75 years prior exactly county officials commissioner the creation of the airport. And it was 85 years ago Clyde Pangborn made the first transpacific non-stop flight across the Pacific Ocean. That history was not lost on Moyers.

081216 AIRPORT MOYERS 4 – 0:22

“…a huge undertaking.”

One, perhaps, 85 years in the making.