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Update: What’s the Construction I See on the Airfield?

October 9, 2018


Update 10/9/18: We’re checking in with Port of Seattle Resident Engineer Heather Munden on our runway construction and how it is helping us get ready for the opening of the North Satellite Modernization project next year. Watch an update video.

An Aerial View of Sea-Tac Airport's Runway Construction

Update 9/28/18: Beginning Friday, September 28th, the next phase in our runway construction is underway where travelers may see some unique traffic patterns with aircraft taxiing on a runway! Not to fear – this is all planned as part of construction on the airfield, but it’s not something you see every day. We have closed our longest runway nearest the terminal, known as 16L/34R, to get ready for the opening of the expansion of the North Satellite Modernization project early next year. This next step will close a taxiway near the terminal which means some aircraft will be taxiing on our closed runway.
We’ve already been at work this spring and summer updating taxiways, replacing concrete panels, fixing expansion joints on the touchdown zones of 16L/34R, and other projects to improve safety and create upgrades where necessary. Now we are working on the longest phase which relocates a taxiway connected to the runway, and upgrades the taxiways near the North Satellite. With the expansion of the North Satellite to the west, we have to adjust the taxiways to allow aircraft movement to safely and efficiently pass by the new facility.

 We do not expect this to cause major delays as we will use the other two runways during the construction. However, during peak periods we could see additional aircraft traffic in line for departures. We have been working with our airline partners for two years to coordinate and make the adjustment as seamless as possible. As in the past when we’ve had runway work occurring, area homeowners will see air traffic shifting to the other two runways during that time.

For about 70 days, taxiway B (Bravo) will be closed near the North Satellite, to move taxiway L (Lima) to the south and extend taxiway B to the north. During this time, runway 16L/34R will actually be used as a taxiway for aircraft. Air Traffic Control will have this option available to them to keep traffic flowing. To be very specific for our aviation geeks, 757-300 aircraft with winglets and smaller, will be able to use taxiway A (next to B), but larger aircraft will have to detour onto the closed runway.

In some cases, during north flow, this could increase your taxi time. During peak periods it may be necessary to taxi aircraft to the north of the airfield and then all the way back to the south end, by use of Taxiway T (Tango) in between the center (16C/34C) and westernmost (16R/34L) runways. This is necessary as the closure of the nearest runway reduces how many aircraft can lineup for takeoff on the south before they create congestion around the terminal and block taxiways coming out of gates.
We expect this construction to be complete in early December. We appreciate travelers’ patience. Now you’ll know what’s up when you look out your window or see the construction from the terminal.

Images of Runway Construction

Construction on the Airfield Construction on the Airfield Airfield Construction
Construction on the Airfield Construction on the Airfield Construction on the Airfield
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