Washington State Airport Pavement Deterioration a Cause for Concern

Airport pavement conditions at Washington state airports have steadily deteriorated since 2005, according to the recently released 2018 Airport Pavement Management System (APMS) report.

The Washington State Department of Transportation Aviation Division evaluated 98 airports, which is an area of 153 million square feet – the equivalent of a two-lane highway stretching from Seattle to San Diego.

WSDOT updates the APMS every three to five years to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the overall pavement area and pavement condition for state airports.

The report assessed airport pavements using a Pavement Condition Index (PCI) ranging from 100 to zero (best to worst).

In 2005, the area-weighted PCI was 78. Area-weighted refers to the average PCI adjusted to account for the relative size of the pavement sections. In 2012, the area-weighted PCI dropped to 75, and in 2018, the area-weighted PCI dropped further to 73. This rate of deterioration is concerning.

The most current APMS data for large airports including Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), Spokane International Airport (GEG), and Tri-Cities Airports (PSC) is also incorporated into the WSDOT APMS database.

The area-weighted age of the entire pavement system for 2018 is 25 years. Area-weighted refers to the time since construction or last major rehabilitation.

Approximately 74 percent of the pavement area, excluding SEA, GEG, and PSC would benefit from routine and preventive maintenance, and approximately 26 percent of the pavement area is at the point where major rehabilitation or reconstruction is needed.

Approximately $395.4 million is needed over the next 7 years to fund all recommended pavement maintenance and rehabilitation projects at the airports, excluding SEA, GEG, and PSC.

WSDOT and the Federal Aviation Administration use APMS data to prioritize state and federal funding for airport projects.

To see statewide summary statistics and individual airport results, visit the Interactive Data Exchange Application (IDEA), which is the online pavement-reporting tool. To learn more about Washington airport pavement management, visit WSDOT Aviation’s website.