Tuesday, August 21, 2001

Runway project approaches key federal approval


Plan: one new, another expanded

By James Pilcher
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HEBRON — With federal approval for proposed new runways at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport expected within three months, the airport began getting ready Monday.

        The Kenton County Airport Board passed several motions with the new runway in mind, including approving the start of condemnation proceedings against 11 pieces of property.

        “The record of decision has taken so long that in order of keeping our time-frame in place, we've got to get started now,” said airport aviation director Bob Holscher, referring to the 39 months the federal approval process has taken.

        The airport is applying for federal approval of a new 8,000-foot north-south runway on the western end of the airport and a 2,000-foot extension to the western end of the existing east-west runway. A final decision is expected by November.

        The entire process has cost the airport more than $2.5 million and taken 39 months to date after original estimates called for 1 1/2 years.

        If approved, the airport hopes to open the new runways — expected to cost nearly $230 million including land purchases and sound mitigation — in 2005.

        On Monday, the board voted to:

        • Begin petitioning Kenton County Fiscal Court to allow the condemnation requests to be made under eminent domain protection. The land in question is primarily along Hossman and Hill roads north and north west of the airport.

        Airport officials couldn't place a value on the 11 parcels, but said the overall land being bought for the new runway is about $60 million.

        • Begin study on moving an existing oil pipeline owned by Mid-Valley Pipeline Corp. Inc. that runs under the western side of the airport. If the runway is approved, work on the relocation would begin in January, allowing work on affected roads to begin in March.

        • Begin study on moving a taxiway on the east-west runway to meet Federal Aviation Administration standards for safety clearance at the ends of runways.

        • Approve three firms to underwrite any possible bonds to be issued.

        Federal funds could pay for as much as 75 percent of construction costs, or $171 million, but that much isn't expected.

       



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