County approves runway at Fort Lauderdale airport, but legal turbulence looms

A 20-year battle isn't over yet

Neither the tunnel nor the slope is unique.

The airport in Memphis, Tenn., has a runway that crosses over a seven-lane highway, while Atlanta has a runway that spans a 10-lane interstate. The airport in Las Vegas has runways with a slope twice what's proposed here.

Still, people had concerns.

Some residents said a tunnel could be a target for terrorists. Several pilots who live near the airport questioned the slope, while the air traffic control director at the airport wrote commissioners raising other safety concerns about the design of the runway.

FAA officials and aviation consultants dismissed those issues in light of the use of such runways at other major airports.

In building the runway, the airport would close the crosswind runway and buy at least part of the nearby Hilton Fort Lauderdale Airport. Officials have wanted to close the crosswind runway because it is the one where takeoffs and landings are the noisiest for the most people.

About 15 acres of wetlands also would be destroyed. The airport would pay for improvements to West Lake Park to offset that damage.

Scott Wyman can be reached at or 954-356-4511.

Online, inside


What is your take on the commission's vote for a second major runway at the airport? Have your say at


Anyone who thinks the County Commission vote ends the airport issue is deluded, writes Columnist Michael Mayo'. 1B

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