April 12- The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has begun an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for a new parallel runway and associated projects at Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT). Based on the FAA’s most recent Terminal Area Forecast, the number of flights at CLT is expected to grow at an average rate of 1.9 percent annually, increasing from more than 545,000 operations in 2016 to a projected 740,000 operations in 2033.
Charlotte’s Airport Capacity Enhancement Plan recommends a 12,000-foot-long runway be completed by 2023. The preferred location for the new runway would be 1,480 feet west of the existing Runway 18/36 centerline. When the new runway is complete, CLT will have four parallel north/south runways. Runway 5/23 will be closed after the new runway is operational.
The initial phase of the EIS will identify reasonable alternatives in addition to the airport’s preferred alternative. The EIS also will study the effects on airport operations if a new runway is not built. The public will have several opportunities during the EIS process to provide input and make comments on the project. The FAA expects to complete the EIS in 2020.
The FAA previously gave the airport a $3.75 million Airport Improvement Program grant for the project. The total cost of the EIS will be determined after the scoping phase of the study is complete. The City of Charlotte, which operates the airport, will request the additional funding to support the EIS. The FAA selected VHB Engineering of Raleigh, NC to conduct the study.
The National Environmental Policy Act requires federal agencies to conduct an environmental review for airport development projects that result in changes to an Airport Layout Plan. The EIS enables federal agencies to analyze and document potentially significant environmental impacts from the proposed project and develop measures that will mitigate those effects.
The EIS for CLT will look at 14 categories of potential environmental impacts. These include aircraft noise and compatible land use, air quality, water resources, historic resources, and socioeconomic and environmental justice. The EIS will consider temporary, direct, secondary, and cumulative impacts for each category, as well.
For more information about Environmental Impact Statements, go to: http://www.faa.gov/airports/environmental/