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The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

POWBAC beacon project trenching complete

First phase of POWBAC’s beacon project finished, LED beacon expected in November or December
Port of Whitman County Business Air Center.

The Port of Whitman County has completed phase one of their beacon replacement project for the Port of Whitman Business Air Center and will start phase two most likely sometime this year.

Patty Kieburtz, assistant communications director for the Port of Whitman County, said phase one of this project included the trenching and electrical hook-up for the new beacon.

“The second phase will include actually installing the new beacon,” Kieburtz said. “The beacon currently at the airport will stay in use until the new beacon will be installed and is operational.”

Kieburtz said this project is taking place because the old beacon has reached the end of its life. Because of this, it was seen as a good opportunity to replace it with a better beacon.

“It flashes green and white and it essentially just signals that it’s an airport, so it increases the visibility,” Kieburtz said. “The beacon will also be an LED light so it’s going to be saving electricity and ideally it will have a longer lifetime as well.”

Another benefit of the beacon is that it will be on a tip-down pole, meaning it can be raised and lowered by one person, she said. The current beacon is mounted on top of an airplane hanger which requires other machinery to reach it to perform any maintenance to it.

Kieburtz said the first phase of the project was completed in July, but they are waiting to continue to phase two once the pole is delivered.

“The construction company is waiting for this pole and it has a procurement timeline of up to nine months,” Kieburtz said. “The projected completion date is the summer of 2024.”

Terry Den Boer, senior estimator and project manager of Colvico, the contractor working on this project, has been in charge of securing the correct materials for the project, including the tipdown beacon. He said the entire project is scheduled to take about 15 days, with the first phase taking about eight or nine days.

“We did all the trenching, dug all the foundations and poured all the concrete and did all the backfill and restoration work associated with that,” he said. “We actually have six days to complete phase two.”

Den Boer said phase two will begin once the tipdown pole arrives, which he believes will arrive sometime in the coming months.

“We’re still suffering a little bit from the supply chain shortages that COVID caused, but initially when we bid the project it was a 35-40 week delivery time for the pole itself, so I’m guessing that could probably arrive in the November/December time frame,” Den Boer said.

Den Boer said during the six-day timeframe, they will also be working on pulling the wire conductors from the tipdown beacon excavation, as well as making sure the beacon operates correctly once it is assembled and stood on its foundation.

While the second phase is projected to take about six days, that is dependent on a few factors, including the weather, Den Boer said. If the weather is too bad to work on the construction, they may wait for it to improve.

The project will cost about $315,000 for both phases, Kieburtz said. The Port has received $284,000 from two grants given by the Federal Aviation Administration.

“An additional grant from the Washington Department of Transportation has been applied for by the Port but it has not yet been awarded,” she said. “That would change what the Port’s share of this project is but it is confirmed right now that the FAA grant is 90% of the project.”

Despite the construction, POWBAC is currently fully functional, Kieburtz said. The project will not be leading to the temporary closure of any parts of the airport and is mostly self contained.

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About the Contributor
JOSIAH PIKE, Evergreen news co-editor
Josiah is a sophomore broadcast journalism and broadcast production double major. He is from Lakewood, Washington and began working for the Evergreen in Fall 2021.