Airport noise to worsen this summer

Posted: Tuesday, April 22, 2003

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Tens of thousands of Anchorage residents will hear much more jet noise this summer because of runway repairs at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.

Beginning in early May, most jets taking off from the airport will travel over east Anchorage instead of heading straight out over Cook Inlet, airport officials say.

The repairs mean residents who normally don't hear much jet noise may hear a takeoff every four or five minutes at peak periods. And residents around International Airport Road off the end of the east-west runway can expect much more frequent jet noise, said Theresa Maser, manager of the airport's noise program.

The airport's north-south runway, from which planes take off directly over Cook Inlet, normally handles about 85 percent of the departures. But it will be shut down for major repairs the entire summer and part of fall, until about Oct. 1, airport manager Morton Plumb said.

''We're not looking forward to it,'' said Jules Tileston, who lives half a mile from the runway between International Airport and Tudor roads. ''We'll put up with it.''

Airport officials don't want to speculate where the increased noise will be most noticeable, other than around International Airport Road.

''I suspect we'll hear from people all the way to the mountains,'' Maser said.

''Noise is going to happen. We're working to manage it,'' Plumb said.

Last year, there were 242,081 takeoffs or landings at the airport, said Susan Haggerty, assistant air traffic manager for the Federal Aviation Administration. That's an average of 663 takeoffs or landings per day.

The north-south runway needs to close for summer because it's time to completely rebuild it, Plumb said.

At the same time, the airport is lengthening a taxiway that parallels the north-south runway. It will reduce the time aircraft need to be running on the ground and cut out some of the noise and air pollution, Plumb said.

The entire project is budgeted at $24 million. The FAA will pay for 90 percent of it and the rest will be paid from airport revenues, Plumb said.

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