FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. --
A $790 million project is planned to extend the south runway at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport to the east, taking planes over U.S. 1.
Airport Director Kent George said the new runway will be 8,000 feet long and 150 feet wide, and it will slope upwards 58 feet on its east end. The runway will extend to roughly the same height as the current overpasses on U.S. 1.
"It's going to be kind of interesting for folks to be able to watch aircraft taxi over while they're driving," George said.
George said the runway design is common and that the incline poses no additional challenge to pilots. A typical wheelchair ramp is at an 8 percent grade; the grade of the new runway will be just over 1 percent.
"It is so gradual, it is a nonissue," George said. "We're about six times less of a grade than a handicapped ramp."
The new south runway will increase the capacity of the airport, which is one of the most delay-prone airports in the country, by 50 percent, bringing the number of yearly takeoffs and landings to 450,000.
The project also includes an expansion of Terminal 4, which serves international passengers. The construction will cost $790 million.
"There is not one single local taxpayer dollar going into this," George said.
George said the Federal Aviation Adminisration, the airlines and passenger user fees will cover the tab. Local workers could reap the rewards, as the four-year construction project is expected to create about 11,000 jobs.
The county will spend about $175 million to mitigate the impact on the environment and residents. One measure entails adding insulation to homes that will be closer to the air traffic pattern after the runway's installation.
Construction is expected to begin by the end of 2011 and be completed by September 2014.
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