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Does It Make Sense To Add A Runway To EWR?

Thu Aug 03, 2006 8:29 am


The search tool was useful in flushing out pieces of information on the subject, but it did not answer my questions entirely. With that said, if you guys and gals could take a few to share your thoughts I’d greatly appreciate it!

As the title suggests, I am curious as to the prospects/fiscal sense of adding runways to EWR.

As y’all already know: it’s packed. 4L and 4R are too close together to allow simultaneous operations and runway 29/11 is too short to accommodate a European bound 757 (to say nothing of widebodies, fully loaded 737's or the fact it bisects the other two runways.) Throw in the congested airspace of the NYC area, banked flights, winter snowstorms and the precious little functionality of the two main runways (4L and 4R) can easily become compromised. Further complicating matters, you’ve got the eastern side of EWR bounded by the turnpike, a missive transit artery, and to the opposite side one finds terminals, parking, hotel, rail tracks and other support buildings. Moreover, I-78 bounds the northern end while commercial/residential development is along the southern “curve” of the airport.

Assuming the Port Authority decides to go ahead with the project, if they look due east than the Turnpike will have to be crossed (i.e. buried or bridged) and the problem still remains that taxi traffic to/from the terminal will cross two active runways. However, if they do go east of they turnpike could they build the runway “offset” from 4L and 4R so the main taxi way to/from the terminal would be at enough of an angle to avoid crossing the active runway?

If the west is considered than train tracks, sky-train, parking lots, distribution centers, streets and local business will have to be relocated. However, building on the western side would allow access to the terminal without having to cross an active runway.

To the north and south… well… that seems even more difficult than going east or west due to the even higher level of development.

Anyway, the point from all this is: should the powers that be decree more runways are to be built, serious “reconstruction” will have to be done somewhere at tremendous cost --which leads me to my question to the board:

Would it be cost effective to add an additional runway(s) to EWR?

If no, than what should be done about the current level of congestion and delays - if anything?

If so, where do you think the new runway(s) should be placed and how should the existing infrastructure be rearranged?

Here are some links to maps of the area for reference:

EWR Airport Diagram

GoogleMaps Link (unable to code it in as a hyperlink):

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RE: Does It Make Sense To Add A Runway To EWR?

Thu Aug 03, 2006 9:29 am

Anything is possible but it is not very likely. There is nothing planned for a new runway or major alteration of the runways. Even if open land was available and the Port Authroity was determined to start it now, it would take at least 10 years. SFO has been trying to fix their runway configuration problems for years and they are still far away from building anything. ORD's runway realignment is years off as well, although there is more of a commitment to it than at SFO.
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RE: Does It Make Sense To Add A Runway To EWR?

Thu Aug 03, 2006 9:41 am

Yeah, where would it go? It faces almost the same problems as PHL, although I doubt they'd be quite as severe... But still, they both deal with the close proximity of I-95...

EWR still has room to expand, I think, with its terminals; PHL has problems with the entire layout pretty much...
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RE: Does It Make Sense To Add A Runway To EWR?

Thu Aug 03, 2006 10:30 am

I don't know how they could possibly do it on the West side. Even if they do all the land purchasing, including sound abatement, there are bound to be serious obstructions in the glideslopes. The port is such an economic machine that that land use can't be ignored. There has been conjecture for years about building the runway over the expressway. But if you look at the cost of making just two relatively small sections of bridging for the fifth runway at ATL, there's no way it could be financially feasible.

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