The safety and security of more than 31 million annual passengers was the primary motivation for the construction of a new air traffic control tower at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The new Air Traffic Control Tower and Support Services Building accommodates air traffic controllers, supervisors and support personnel for the increased activity. Maximum visibility and radar efficacy are provided in the new 285-foot tower that is more than twice the height of its predecessor. Stations for 10 air traffic controllers are operational.
The tower is topped by an 850-square-foot tower cab that secures a global view of all air and ground vehicles throughout the airfield. That view includes the third runway geography. A support services building is also onsite, and the proximity of administrative, security, technology, and maintenance functions guarantees the highest level of seamless operation.
As Seattle sits in a Zone Three seismic area, the new tower was designed and built to meet FEMA 302 standards, which increases the structure's serviceability and allows it to come back online shortly after a seismic event. On the morning of February 28, 2001, it was put to its first test when Seattle experienced an earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter Scale. With seven months of construction left to go on the 260-foot tower, which was 225 feet tall at the time, it could have been a construction nightmare. There was no damage; however, the existing 108-foot tower took four months to repair.
The award-winning distinctive structure is an achievement in precast concrete construction. Glass fiber reinforced panels clad the tower from the flair in the structure. The FAA and the Port of Seattle have increased their oversight of all air travel at one of the nation’s top airports.