First Safety Barrier Could Be in Place at Teterboro Airport By Late 2006

TETERBORO, N.J. (AP) -- The first in a system of barriers designed to stop jets from careening off runways at Teterboro Airport should be installed by late next year, according to a top official with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Calls for the barriers were renewed after several recent incidents at the airport, where two planes have skidded off runways and a third crashed while landing this year. Among those incidents was an accident in February that injured 20 people.

The Port Authority, which operates the airport, initially hoped to have the first barrier installed by the summer of 2007. Officials, though, decided to speed up the process after prodding from Rep. Steve Rothman, D-Fair Lawn, and assurances from the barrier manufacturer and engineering staff that the beds would work at Teterboro.

The barriers - lightweight concrete blocks commonly called arrestor beds - are laid at the end of runways and are heavy enough to slow or stop an aircraft.

''We've been able to work with the manufacturer on a design (for the barriers) that we think will be effective,'' Port Authority Chairman Anthony Coscia told The Record of Bergen County for Friday's editions.

The first arrestor bed will be installed at the runway where a corporate jet carrying 11 people failed to take off on Feb. 2 and crossed six lanes of Route 46, striking cars and plowing into a warehouse. The driver of a car hit by the plane sued the Port Authority, claiming that arrestor beds could have prevented the accident.

Arrestor beds have been used for several years at La Guardia and Kennedy Airports. Port Authority officials had been considering placing them at Teterboro prior to the February crash.

Besides the barriers, the Port Authority plans to shift a road adjacent to the airport about 1,000 feet east of its current location. The authority is also ordering new fire trucks for the airport and will take over airport fire service this winter from a private contractor.

The overall cost of the work is expected to be about $20 million, most of which the Port Authority anticipates will be funded by the Federal Aviation Administration. However, Coscia said the agency will foot the entire bill if necessary.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press