Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Jet Noise to Drop During JFK Runway Revamp: Port Authority by Howard Koplowitz -

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Jim Stevens of the Port Authority goes over the plan to repave a runway at John F. Kennedy International Airport with Community Board 10. Photo by Howard Koplowitz

Community Board 10 was updated on plans to reconstruct the largest runway at John F. Kennedy International Airport at its monthly meeting last week, which a representative from the Port Authority said would result in Howard Beach and Ozone Park residents experiencing less airport noise during part of the project.

Jim Stevens of the Port Authority said the runway — 32 left, 13 right — was last upgraded in 1993. He said the airport’s runways are generally repaved every 10 to 12 years.

In the past, Stevens said, JFK’s runways were repaved with asphalt, but the one targeted for the project will be done with concrete, adding a 40−year lifecycle to the runway.

The project is expected to cost between $300 million and $400 million, Stevens said, and is scheduled to start in March 2010 and finish by early 2011.

During construction, the runway will be closed for 100 days, Stevens said, during which time Ozone Park and Howard Beach residents will experience “virtually no airport activity.”

Stevens said whichever contractor wins the bid for the project, it will have 120 days to finish the repaving or face fines. Conversely, bonuses will be awarded if the work is completed earlier than expected.

“We’re very serious about ensuring our contractor does the right thing,” Stevens said. “It’s something that we have invested a tremendous amount of time on to make sure we get it right.”

The 14,572−foot runway will be widened from 150 feet to 200 feet, Stevens said, so it can accommodate larger aircraft in the pipeline, including the Airbus A380 and the Boeing 747−300.

When asked by a CB 10 member if the project would alleviate traffic congestion at JFK, Stevens said “from an infrastructure standpoint, absolutely it will,” but said that depends on air traffic controllers.

In other business, the board voted to send a letter to the city Department of Transportation acknowledging CB 10 did not receive “clear support” from 118th Street residents on whether the agency should construct a speed hump on the block. But the board said the DOT should revisit the issue if more residents indicate their approval of the plan.

CB 10 held a public hearing at its monthly meeting last Thursday, where only one resident of the block showed up. He said he supported the speed hump.

“We have had a large number of accidents there,” Dashnarajh Manoo said. “There’s a lot of speeding along there.”

CB 10 Chairwoman Betty Braton said 45 letters were sent out about the speed hump, but that she only received eight responses. Two were opposed.

Donna Gilmartin, another CB 10 member, said she was “just not comfortable with that amount of people as a response.”

Member Peter Granickas agreed.

“There doesn’t seem to be enough interest in the project,” he said. “I don’t see how we can say ‘yes’ with that little amount of people.”

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e−mail at or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 173.