Airport contracts approved by board

Alternatives in the jet noise program will be explored.

A passenger terminal and two airfield engineering and design services contracts totaling $574,640 were approved Thursday by Tulsa Airports Improvement Trustees in advance of the next round of construction projects at Tulsa International Airport.

In a separate issue, the board approved a resolution supporting the airport staff's exploration with the Federal Aviation Administration of alternatives available to property owners in the ongoing six-year, $40 million aircraft noise mitigation program.

The resolution seeking FAA guidance is somewhat of a compromise, certainly a first step, in resolving five-year-old aircraft noise issues involving the Layman Van Acres and Moses neighborhoods southeast of the airport. Those neighborhoods include 550 homes, of which 469 are eligible for the ongoing noise program and 160 of which are participating in it.

Beginning in 2000, the noise program sought to reduce average 65-decibel day-night aircraft noise levels in the neighborhoods by sound insulation of homes, easement purchases, sales assistance or property acquisitions.

By the end of this year, 1,100 of 1,700 qualifying properties will be completed, officials said.

For several years, the residents of the Layman Van Acres and Moses neighborhoods have requested that trustees acquire their properties. Cost estimates for their acquisition range between $65 million and $80 million -- at least as much as the existing program -- over 15 to 24 years.

Airports Director Jeff Mulder has advised the board that amending the noise program to include the Layman and Moses neighborhoods could put the present program and its 600 remaining homeowners on hold for up to two years. Existing noise contours would have to be certified with new acoustic studies, public hearings and a FAA review, Mulder said.

"Everyone wants a short answer, but there isn't a short answer because the FAA has specific policies and procedures for this program nationwide and we all are competing for these (noise mitigation) funds," Mulder said.

"The FAA wants to be sure they are sending the money to airports with the highest needs."

City Councilman Roscoe Turner, whose 3rd District includes the Layman Van Acres and Moses neighborhoods, has asked the board to inquire of the FAA whether the noise program could be amended midstream to include the two neighborhoods.

Turner and his constituents in the neighborhoods also have suggested the use of airport funding or other assistance.

"I'm against condemnation," Turner said.

The board passed a resolution to explore alternative funding sources for the inclusion of the Layman and Moses property owners in the noise program. The resolution also says trustees will seek FAA approval to update the noise program to explore home acquisition options without impacting the ongoing program.

The trustees also resolved to explore options to provide relocation benefits to property owners who decide to sell their property.

In the airfield contracts approved by the board, Garver Engineers LLC of Tulsa was awarded a $218,717 contract to provide design and bidding services for reconstruction of portions of the east-west crosswind runway and taxiways "C" and "L."

Garver also was awarded a $226,923 contract for design and bidding services for extensions of taxiways and roadways, construction of drainage facilities and grading in the North Development Area of the airport.

Benham Cos. LLC of Tulsa was awarded a $129,000 contract for design and bidding services for the elevators and exit lanes project in the Great Hall of the passenger terminal.

The project includes the removal of one elevator west of the security checkpoints; installation of two new elevators south of the security checkpoints; replacement of one elevator on each of the east and west concourses, and installation of revolving security doors in the concourse exit lanes.

D.R. Stewart 581-8451