2nd Runway Urged for Atlanta's Briscoe Field

Oct. 3, 2006
Under the new proposal, the second runway would be built on what is now taxiway.

Anticipating continued growth in air traffic at Briscoe Field, Gwinnett transportation planners propose building a second, 5,000-foot runway at the airport in about a decade.

County Department of Transportation Director Brian Allen presented the plan at a Chamber of Commerce forum Monday. Pending approval by Gwinnett's airport authority, the measure is scheduled to be voted on by the Gwinnett County Commission at its regular meeting Oct. 17.

"As our airport continues to grow and develop, this is something that would help to separate the traffic," Allen said. "A 5,000-foot runway is a significant runway, and most of the operations that occur at the airport could use the 5,000-foot runway."

The added runway, Allen said, would not change the general aviation airport into a larger commercial facility with regularly scheduled passenger service.

The proposed 5,000-foot runway is a revision of a 1992 master plan that called for the construction of a second runway half as long as the airport's existing 6,000-foot runway. The consulting firm that drew up the plan will release its final report, including a cost estimate for the revision, on Monday, airport Director Matthew Smith said.

Tighter environmental regulations rendered the original plan unworkable. The runway proposed 14 years ago would have cut through a flood plain and other areas deemed environmentally sensitive by the state.

Under the new proposal, the second runway would be built on what is now taxiway.

Allen cautioned that, if approved, the runway wouldn't be built for at least a decade. "It's not going to happen overnight," Allen said during an interview after the chamber forum. "But we can't sit around and wait. We have to plan for it now."

In 1990, 187 aircraft were based at Briscoe Field, according to report presented by Allen. By 2004, that total had jumped to 432, including 35 jets, an increase that county transportation officials say justifies a longer runway.

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