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Thu, Jun 07, 2007

FLL Receives Approval To Build South Runway

Project Due For Completion In 2012

In a move that ends 16 years of political debate, the Broward County (FL) Commission voted Wednesday in favor of building an 8,000-foot south runway at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

It is a victory for business interests at the airport, according to the South Florida Business Journal. The early morning 6-3 vote is viewed as a defeat for environmentalists and nearby residents fearing the potential impact.

The $695 million runway, not expected to be complete until 2012, will replace a 5,276 foot runway and a 6,930-foot crosswind runway.

According to media reports, the plan that was approved would allow aviation businesses on the north side of the airport to remain where they are, and also leaves open the possibility of a third runway.

Just getting to this point has not been easy for FLL. As ANN has reported, as recently as this past March, opponents of the proposed expansion were informing county officials in  public meetings they refused to be forced from their homes by excessive noise caused by large jets that would accompany a longer runway.

In May 2005, the airport, already known for its delays, was put on a federal list of six potential "trouble spots" for vacation travelers. Then, two residents and the cities of Hollywood and Dania Beach filed a lawsuit in 2005 against the airport, complaining that increased traffic made living near the airport "miserable."

And just last month, the FAA said FLL must expand immediately to handle increasing demand. The airport averages about 1,000 flights a day and is one of the fastest growing airports in the nation.

Although a project completion date of 2012 hardly seems to fall into the "must expand immediately" category, it appears to be a step in the right direction.

FLL is not only known for its delays and political battles. It was also the airport where the "The Lost Patrol" took off. Five Avenger Torpedo Bombers, carrying 14 crewmen, took off December 5, 1945 and disappeared without a trace.

FMI: www.broward.org/airport

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