Officials broke ground Monday morning on Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport's new six-stories-high runway extension, a tunnelled, jobs-bearing giant aimed at reducing flight delays and keeping up with air traffic demands.
Channel 10 reports that the new runway, scheduled to open in September 2014, will handle 450,000 takeoffs and landings every year. The South Runway Expansion, which will expand the current runway to 8,000 feet as part of a $791 million project, is funded by the Federal Aviation Administration, the Florida Department of Transportation, and Passenger Facility Charges.
In December, the Sun-Sentinel revealed that the extended runway will be an elevated ramp six-stories tall, with U.S. 1 traffic and FEC trains running through tunnels underneath.
Airports in Seattle and Las Vegas also have ramped runways. But with a 1.3 slope, the proposed FLL extension is very close to the maximum slope of 1.5 allowed by the FAA (and, therefore, totally awesome).
Proponents say the South Runway Expansion project will create over 11,000 jobs and bring in more than $1 million dollars a day to the local economy -- a sentiment echoed Monday morning by state Rep. Frederica Wilson.
Officials are "fighting for more of this," Rep. Wilson said. "Our people need to go to work."
But the increase in east-west air traffic has those living below worried about noise.
In response, the Broward County launched a sound installation pilot program, in which contractors will install acoustical windows, doors, and other sound insulation measures in 48 Dania Beach homes affected by the change in flight patterns.
The Broward County Aviation Department is also planning a Sound Insulation Program for 80 more homes.
Click below for an animation of the South Runway Expansion.