New airports proposed to be built in Pierce and Thurston County

Here’s how the newly proposed airports would affect people living in Puyallup and South Hill.

The Puget Sound Regional Council is considering potentially erecting up to three airports if aviation trends in western Washington continue to exceed capacity. The potential airports would be bigger than SeaTac International Airport, two in Pierce County and one in Thurston County.  

 The locations are south of Graham near State Route 161 (Meridian Avenue), which runs through Puyallup and South Hill; one located south of South Creek in Roy; and another southeast of Olympia. If 80 percent of the expected demand for flights in the next 30 years is met, one or two airports would need to be built, and all three airports would need to be built to meet 100 percent of the demand.  

 The proposal is also looking into increasing the capacity of Paine Field in Everett. SeaTac International Airport is expected to exceed capacity of takeoff and landings by 2050 and the suggested airports are to be built by 2040. The number of people coming to Washington is increasing. 

 “Demand for take-offs and landings in the region is projected to double by 2050 from over 400,000 to over 800,000 per year,” says the Puget Sound Regional Council website.  

 “According to estimates, the number of air travelers in western Washington is supposed to double, from 50 million to 100 million, by 2050,” King 5 stated.  

 The airport that would be built south of Graham will affect South Hill and Puyallup residents with an increase in traffic in the area and increased noise pollution. The marked location for the airport is located on rural farms and residential houses. If the airport is to be built, it will destroy agriculture, animal habitats, and force people out of their homes, according to critics of the airport. 

 “Our home will be gone. My home is right there,” said Arlene Murray-Adams in an interview with Fox 13.  

 It is expected that up to 3,000 people could lose their homes. The owners of the homes would be compensated but be forced to sell.  

 The new airports would be 3,100 acres (600 acres bigger than SeaTac) and would include two runways, according to a site study by state consultant Kimley-Horn. A letter by the Pierce County Council and county executive Bruce Dammeier states that Peirce County’s Urban Growth area does not have the infrastructure necessary to handle an airport of that size, nor does it have plans to build new infrastructure.  

If you want to give feedback, there are town meetings in Graham, Roy, and Olympia. Citizens also can lobby local officials and sign petitions: there is a current petition initiative already started, there are Facebook groups to join that are against the airports, and you can share your feedback to [email protected]