FAA backs R.I.'s Green runway extension

-- May 27--WARWICK -- The Federal Aviation Administration on Tuesday announced it is backing a plan to extend the main runway at T.F. Green Airport to the southwest. The plan, to add 1,600 feet to the 7,100-foot-long runway, was...

The southwest alternative requires taking 11 houses and 10 businesses for construction purposes. The two earlier alternatives called for taking 97 or 60 houses and 45 or 42 businesses.

The southwest alternative would impact 7.3 acres of wetlands, none of it because of the runway extension. The others would have impacted 19 or 7.5 acres.

The southwest alternative calls for relocating 14 businesses that provide 157 jobs. The others called for relocating 48 businesses with 358 jobs or 45 businesses with 421 jobs.

Noise impacts that would make properties eligible for acquisition by the airport would affect 134 houses under the southwest alternative. The others would affect 211 or 97.

Tuesday's announcement identified what the FAA considers the preferred alternative for the project. That does not become official until the agency issues a draft environmental impact statement, which is expected in the fall.

After the draft, the FAA will hold a public hearing on the plan, issue a final environmental impact statement, and then a record of decision, which would be expected about a year from now. After that, construction could begin. Work could be finished sometime in 2013 or 2014.

Green is one of three second-tier airports in New England that the FAA has said are vital because Boston's Logan International Airport could not handle all the air traffic that would fly there without the regional airports.Project in a nutshell

What: Runway extension,

safety improvements

When: 2010-2013

How big: 8,700 feet, from 7,100 feet

How much: $475 million

What's next: June 3 public meeting


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