TWFirst
Topic Author
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Consultant Says Shorter FLL Runway Will Work

Thu Nov 20, 2003 11:49 pm

This story appeared in today's (20 Nov.) Sun-Sentinel. I can't remember how long the current runway is, but it's so frustrating when major projects like this are scaled back or compromised, and then 10 years later, everyone realizes that it should have been done right the first time....


Shorter second runway would work fine at Lauderdale airport, consultants say

By Scott Wyman
Staff Writer
Posted November 20 2003

Plans to build a second major runway on the south side of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport could be scaled back and still address travel demands of the next 20 years, consultants told Broward County officials Wednesday.

The consultants concluded that travelers would not face any greater delay if the new runway is 8,000 feet long rather than the 9,000 feet that airport administrators have been seeking. They said the airport's needs could even be met with a 7,160-foot runway, but noted that the Federal Aviation Administration and pilots might balk if the plans were shortened that significantly.

An 8,000-foot runway would save environmentally sensitive wetlands to the east of the airport. A 7,160-foot runway would not have to bridge Federal Highway or force the relocation of electric transmission lines.

The 61-page report by Leigh Fisher Associates sets the stage for a final decision next month by county commissioners on the airport expansion plans. Commissioners hired the consultants to explore new options after facing fierce criticism that the new runway would harm nearby neighborhoods, parks and wetlands.

"My initial reaction is hallelujah," said Brenda Chalifour of Save our Shoreline. "This validates that there are alternatives that are less costly and that have less impact on the environment."

The Leigh Fisher report stood behind the need for airport expansion. According to the report, travel delays would top 29 minutes in 2020 and more flights would use the current diagonal runway as air traffic grows 45 percent to 430,000 flights a year.

The consultants offered two alternatives to building the runway on the south side -- a second northern runway or a redesigned diagonal runway. But they raised serious concerns that neither would be as efficient as a southern runway and that the diagonal runway might not be compatible with existing airspace corridors.

Commissioners said their focus will now be on deciding how long the south runway will be. They said that will be a balancing act between neighborhood and environmental issues and the needs of the traveling public.

"We all know we need another runway, and now we know there is no question that we can go with 8,000 feet with no impact," said Commissioner John Rodstrom, chairman of the county's airport expansion task force.

Commissioners Jim Scott and Ben Graber wanted to move ahead with the original plan of 9,000 feet this spring and remain reticent to change.

"This report confirms that the south runway is the best option for the airport expansion we desperately need," Scott said. "My initial thought is if we have to go over Federal Highway and all, why not stay with the original length?"

Leigh Fisher based its conclusion that a shorter second runway could accommodate the airport's growth on the mix of planes expected to fly in and out of Fort Lauderdale over the next 20 years.

More than 75 percent of commercial aircraft can take off from a 7,000-foot runway, and almost 90 percent can take off from an 8,000-foot runway. The consultants also said only a small number of aircraft require more than 7,000 feet to land in rainy weather.

Regardless of whether the south runway is 9,000 feet long or 7,160 feet long, Leigh Fisher estimated that the average delay in 2020 for flights would be seven to six minutes. The consultants considered three specific scenarios for a shorter runway:

a 7,985-foot runway. This would save the wetlands east of the Northeast 7th Avenue at the airport's border with Port Everglades. The project would cost at least $500 million, compared to $485 million for the current plan, and would lead to extreme noise over 205 acres of houses, as would the current plan.

a 7,500-foot runway. In addition to saving the wetlands, this would also allow the county to avoid the costly relocation of Florida Power & Light transmission lines. The project would cost at least $460 million, but would cause noise problems for an additional 65 acres of residential property.

a 7,160-foot runway. Under this design, Federal Highway could be relocated to the east so it would not have to be tunneled underneath the runway. Its cost would be at least $400 million and would affect the same number of homes as a 7,500-foot runway.

The Leigh Fisher consultants said that the county would have to buy and demolish the Hilton hotel west of the south runway under all of the options. That space would be needed to provide airplanes the necessary unobstructed length they need when landing to the east.

The shortest two options might require the county to back off promises it has made to restrict the use of the south runway. The restrictions include limits on nighttime flights, the direction of take-offs and landings and the size of planes using the runway.

The consultants said that the FAA would likely reconsider its willingness to support those restrictions, given the shortness of the runway. As the length is reduced, more pilots of commercial airliners will want to use the north runway for take-offs and would have more concern about the FPL lines at the end of the runway.

The different mix of aircraft using the shorter version of the south runway would mean less noise over John U. Lloyd State Park to the east of the airport, but more noise over the neighborhoods to the west.

The consultants generally favored elimination of the current diagonal runway as part of the project. The county has held that out as a possibility to ease some of the neighborhood concerns about the expansion.

Leigh Fisher suggested shortening the diagonal to 5,000 feet so it no longer crosses the south runway. The runway could be used by noncommercial aircraft .

Scott Wyman can be reached at swyman@sun-sentinel.com or 954-356-4511
An unexamined life isn't worth living.
 
jsnww81
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RE: Consultant Says Shorter FLL Runway Will Work

Fri Nov 21, 2003 12:00 am

This isn't too surprising.

Local communities and opposition groups seem to be less incensed by new runways if they're shorter. Witness new runways in Phoenix (8000'), Boston (5000'), Miami (8000'), Dallas/Fort Worth (8500'), Cleveland (7800'), and Little Rock (7500'). There are exceptions (such as Denver, Houston and Las Vegas) but the general trend seems to be toward shorter runways.

8000' feet is still more than adequate for FLL's operations, and if shortening the runway allows it to get built, then I'm all for it. Still, I always thought that the proposals for the 9000' runway, with the runway bridges over US Highway 1, looked pretty cool. Too bad they probably won't happen.
 
scottysair
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RE: Consultant Says Shorter FLL Runway Will Work

Fri Nov 21, 2003 12:13 am

Yeah, I still waiting for the Broward County is approval to go ahead began with new south runway expansion and I just got emailing from my friends by BCAD at FLL. You probably will alot about hear in the FLL of the future. I am moment waiting for so long term. We will let you know about what is situation was going on lately. Well, talk ya later!  Smile
 
Sinlock
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RE: Consultant Says Shorter FLL Runway Will Work

Fri Nov 21, 2003 3:24 am

a 7,160-foot runway. Under this design, Federal Highway could be relocated to the east so it would not have to be tunneled underneath the runway. Its cost would be at least $400 million and would affect the same number of homes as a 7,500-foot runway.

Seems like someone forgot that the Florida East Coast Railroad is 500ft closer the airport than US1. You can make a tunnel for a road but not for a railway.
In an other report for the 9000ft option the cost of moving the 3 mile portion of track needed so 9R/27L would not have to be an elevated runway would cost an extra $60 million.



The shortest two options might require the county to back off promises it has made to restrict the use of the south runway. The restrictions include limits on nighttime flights, the direction of take-offs and landings and the size of planes using the runway.

a 7,985-foot runway.........would lead to extreme noise over 205 acres of houses
a 7,500-foot runway.........would cause noise problems for an additional 65 acres of residential property.


I'm not afraid to say it!
If someone gave me the choice of {Saving 87 acres of man-made Mangrove wetlands} or {Adding an Extra 13db to up to 270 acres of homes}

11 out of 10 times I'll pick NOT having the Extra 12db. The difference of 69db and 82db is pretty big at 11:00pm when you have a 6 month old daughter.


The more runway you have, The less power you need, The less power you need, The less noise you make.


NOTE: I have used information not seen it this article, I have LARGE collection of information on FLL expantion that started back to the early 90's.
 
Coronado990
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RE: Consultant Says Shorter FLL Runway Will Work

Fri Nov 21, 2003 3:32 am

You can make a tunnel for a road but not for a railway.

Don't tell the Swiss railway that!
Uncle SAN at your service!
 
Stormin
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RE: Consultant Says Shorter FLL Runway Will Work

Fri Nov 21, 2003 3:41 am

Coronado990,
While I'm sure you are being facetious.... FLL is in Florida, which is very flat until you get near Georgia... You tunnel in Florida and you will hit the water table very quickly... A quick dip for a road is not a problem, but trains require much longer lengths that I'm sure will have flooding problems every afternoon around 4pm in the summer rainy months.


Later
 
ConcordeBoy
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RE: Consultant Says Shorter FLL Runway Will Work

Fri Nov 21, 2003 4:14 am

The more runway you have, The less power you need, The less power you need, The less noise you make.

Actually, you have it completely backwards... at least, in the sense you seem to be intending it.

  • The less power you need, the less power you use
  • the less power you use, the slower you climb
  • the slower you climb, the larger your noise footprint
  • the larger your noise footprint, the more noise you shower on residents.
  • Faire du ciel le plus bel endroit de la terre c'est impossible sans Concorde!
     
    airlinelover
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    RE: Consultant Says Shorter FLL Runway Will Work

    Fri Nov 21, 2003 4:26 am

    Why are they even considering the residents in this???

    If people CHOOSE to live near an airport, esp. one like FLL that may acutally (gasp) expand, then they should have NO right to complain about noise. Most probably paid cheap for their houses, as are houses near DTW and PTK, and then they figure out they don't like the noise.. TOUGH..

    Also, if you have kids, and move right outside an airport, one of two things..,

    1. SHAME ON YOU for that cause of the noise with the kid and all..

    2. GREAT IDEA!!! Start a future plane lover / spotter off early  Big thumbs up

    Anyway, those residents need to STFU..


    Chris
    Lets do some sexy math. We add you, subtract your clothes, divide your legs and multiply
     
    scottysair
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    RE: Consultant Says Shorter FLL Runway Will Work

    Fri Nov 21, 2003 4:33 am

    Hey Chris,

    It is long time that mean not hear from you and got everything went well for us. I wondering that mean will need get an the runway expansion into few years or less. I am waiting to hear from my friends at BCAD. Well, talk ya later!  Smile
     
    Sinlock
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    RE: Consultant Says Shorter FLL Runway Will Work

    Fri Nov 21, 2003 4:59 am

    ConcordeBoy,

    I see what you mean, What I typed is not what I meant. My fault.


    Why are they even considering the residents in this???

    The areas that are being affected have VERY high voter turn outs and have taken their anger out on officials during elections before.

    Also, The largest/loudest aircraft that use runway 9R/27L now are Beech 1900D, that's a far cry from a Laker 727 or a Fed Ex DC-10.


    ________________________________________________________________

    1. SHAME ON YOU for that cause of the noise with the kid and all..

    The long winded response I have to this statement, Would get me permanently banned from Airliners.net
     
    Coronado990
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    RE: Consultant Says Shorter FLL Runway Will Work

    Fri Nov 21, 2003 5:21 am

    Stormin...

    Sorry, the watertable issue wasn't on my mind, but I am familiar with the flat terrain as I have been to MIA, FLL, PBI, MCO, DAB & JAX.

    I know Florida isn't Switzerland. The Everglades should have tipped me off!

    Seriously...they do build watertight train tunnels under harbors and channels which are probably even longer and deeper. A watertight prefab tunnel is an option for a train on land but I understand cost may be more or a roadblock then technology.

    I also understand railway have a limit to downhill/uphill gradients. This is also true with turns. A train can go only so fast around a turn. From the airport overviews that I have seen of FLL, the railway line has a graceful turn that allows for certain speeds. If the tracks were to go around the new runway (assuming the runway crosses US 1), then a sharper curve would be necessary requiring trains to slow their progress to get around the "bend".
    Uncle SAN at your service!
     
    TWFirst
    Topic Author
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    RE: Consultant Says Shorter FLL Runway Will Work

    Fri Nov 21, 2003 5:23 am

    Coincidentally, the only tunnel in all of Florida is only a couple miles north of the airport, taking Highway 1 under the New River in downtown Ft. Lauderdale.
    An unexamined life isn't worth living.
     
    scottysair
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    RE: Consultant Says Shorter FLL Runway Will Work

    Fri Nov 21, 2003 5:33 am

    TWFirst,

    That is exactly right and this I know where it is alot in doowntown of Ft. Lauderdale. It is not too far from FLL airport either. I am used live in Hollywood for more than of 24 years and those are no longer liveing in FLL anymore. I am miss of all those photography in FLL. Well, talk ya later!

    Scott W.