I've been kind of interested in this as well. So far I've made up my own little elimination list for the proposed locations. I've only been to San Diego once so my memory is fuzzy, but I have flight simulator with USGS mesh scenery installed, so I've been exploring the landscape that way.
Ones I think will be eliminated:
--------------------Too far away, and the NIMBYS are already crying about environmental impacts in this area. Plus surrounding terrain could make approaches from the east tricky.
--------------------Similar situation. Takes a while to get to these locations. Warner Springs has poor road access, so much more money would have to be spent improving roads and building a real freeway up there, plus it's completely surrounded by high terrain. Ramona is a little more do-able, but it's still got high terrain to the east, and limited area to expand considering the elevation drop around the existing airport. It'd be too tricky do to, too expensive to build, and wouldn't be flexible for future growth.
---------------------Speaks for itself. Too many problems and risks involved in trying to construct a trans border airport. The INS would have a fit I imagine.
National City Waterfront
--------------------- Building here would require the destruction of many piers, the filling in of much of San Diego bay, lots of environmental and economic impacts, the airport would have absolutely no room to expand either, would be constrained by noise restrictions, and essentially would find itself in a worse position than Lindbergh currently finds itself in. Can you imagine the uproar around filling in much of SD
bay? I bet more than just NIMBY's would protest that one. It won't happen.
---------------------Has anyone seen how far away this location is? It's over just south of the Salton Sea, almost as far away as March ARB, and further away than Warner Springs. No noise issues or expansion issues, but it's in the middle of nowhere, and no one wants to drive an hour and 10 minutes to the airport.
Locations that might work (by some stretch of the imagination):
North Island NAS
---------------------Listed somewhat in order of probability and feasibility. Miramar is in a perfect location, with existing infrastructure that only needs to be expanded and improved upon, rather than building a new airport entirely from scratch. The major hangup here is the willingness of the Marines to vacate the land or use it jointly with airliners. Also might have lighter noise restrictions and environmental impacts which should make a few nimbys happy, but you know the coastal folks to the west will complain about jets. They always do. They start complaining before jet service even starts.
North Island comes next. It's a compromise, really. If the Marines won't leave Miramar, then the next best option is to go for North Island. The problem is that the existing runways cross each other, which puts limits on amount of takeoff and landing slots at any one time, but this could be partially solved by connecting the airport via an underground transit system, to the existing Lindbergh, and using the two airports jointly together as one. You have the benefit of existing infrastructure at North Island, but the drawback of environmental impacts (to sea life, you know that's what they'll complain about
), and of course the noise restrictions. Noise as North Island will be just as restricted as that at Lindbergh, and jets probably won't be able to approach from or take off towards the East at all, due to downtown SD
. You're limited to a coastal approach, or a northeast approach. But it could be done. You also face the reality that once the airport is completed, you can only expand within the property, but there's no room for expansion of land area.
Otay Mesa: Fairly good location, right between Brown Field and the Mexican border. A bit of room to expand and the terrain is relatively flat. Otay Mesa area itself has a bit less population, fewer Nimbys, though just to the west you have the populated coast, and Imperial Beach which could present an approach problem. Terrain to the East is reasonably far away to make for a doable approach. Your biggest problem is that you need to build the roads and infrastructure entirely from scratch. You need to connect the airport to the 5 or the 805, and make the roads efficient enough to carry a high degree of passengers to and from the airport over the years. Fortunately you have a bit of land to expand upon should expansion be needed, though the amount of available land keeps shrinking.
East Miramar comes after this because it's right next to the Miramar station. Major drawback: You have to move earth to build the airport (terrain obstacles), and you have to start almost entirely from scratch, though fortunately the freeways are right there. But the location is still quite good, but you need the military to give up the land.
South Bay: This plan calls for the filling in of a small amount of the south portion of SD
bay, which the residents would take issue with, BUT, it isn't as dramatic as the National City plan. Room to expand is limited, noise abatement will become an increasing issue as the population expands in the south of Sand Diego. This would be another compromise.
Silver Strand: This design calls for the construction of a half-and-half airport...half on land, half floating on water. It would be a hugely expensive project, the Nimby's would cry, though there would be less noise restrictions than at North Island. But then you have the problem in that you cut off North Island itself. The solution would be to make the freeway go underground and pass right through the middle of the airport, kind of like what you see in areas around SEA
. The freeway would resurface again out of a tunnel and continue south as it currently does. There would be environmental impacts, and the "floating" side of the airport would be exposed directly to the currents and waves of the pacific ocean. Maintenance costs would be a nightmare. And you face the risk of the airport settling and sinking, like Osaka's.
Ocean Beach: Perhaps the least probable of all the "do-able" designs, this one calls for an airport that is almost entirely floating on the ocean. The airport would be located on the water, directly west from the current Lindberg field. This would also call for the complete closure of Lindbergh. You'd have to expand road access intended for Lindbergh, over to the beach, just barely south of Mission Bay. A portion of Mission Bay would be filled in as well, something that surely will not go down well. Residents in the area would take issue with the traffic and the jets, there would be no expansion options, and you have two major colleges nearby with students who may or may not welcome the presence of an international airport on the beachfront. Lots of environmental impacts and you have Sea World to consider...though, Sea World's location very close to Lindbergh's coastal approach doesn't seem to e a problem today aside from noise restrictions. And those would exist here, unless they built a runway parallel to the coast, in which cast noise restrictions may not exist.
That's my take on the whole thing.
Personally, I'm laying my money on either Miramar, Otay Mesa, or North Island/Lindbergh. The floating airports are a real possibility but it'll be tough to sell them to the public.
[Edited 2003-10-04 17:25:32]