FAA Issues Final Environmental Assessment for Cleveland/Detroit Metroplex

Friday, June 1, 2018

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Final Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact/ Record of Decision for the Cleveland/Detroit Metroplex project.

The decision enables the agency to move forward with modernized, satellite-based procedures to replace dozens of existing, decades-old conventional air traffic control procedures.  Travelers will benefit with safe and more efficient optimized routing through precise flight tracks that keep routes automatically separated.  This in turn reduces the need for vectoring and controller-pilot workload.

Prior to making the decision, the FAA conducted a thorough environmental assessment and held public meetings and stakeholder briefings. The agency also evaluated and responded to public comments.

The FAA plans to phasing in the procedures, starting this month and continuing through September 2018. In all, the Cleveland/Detroit Metroplex project includes 71 new satellite-based procedures.   This project is a key component of the FAA’s Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) and a nationwide effort to build the foundation for future safety and efficiency improvements.

The project also expands the number of entry and exit points into and out of the Cleveland/Detroit airspace, which is like creating more on- and off-ramps in the sky. It includes two major airports and 10 satellite airports.

The FAA’s environmental analysis for the project calculated noise at locations throughout the study area. It showed the proposed action would not result in any significant noise increases under the National Environmental Policy Act. However, there would be a reportable noise increase that could potentially affect approximately 335 residents in the Sumpter Township, Wayne County, southwest of Detroit Metro Airport.

The FAA held six public workshops on the project before releasing the Draft Environmental Assessment in November of 2017.  Agency officials conducted approximately 78 briefings for stakeholders including community groups, airport officials and local, state and federal officials.   

Six additional workshops were held after the release of the Draft Environmental Assessment on November 10, 2017.

Additionally, following a 30-day public comment period, the FAA evaluated and responded to comments before making a final decision on the project.

When the Cleveland/Detroit Metroplex procedures are implemented, some people might see aircraft where they did not previously fly. This is because some air route changes will occur, and because satellite-based procedures create more concentrated flight paths than conventional procedures.

Some people will experience slight noise decreases, some will see no changes, and some will experience small noise increases.

Some flight track dispersion will continue to occur after the new procedures are implemented because the Metroplex project would not change a number of existing procedures. Also, air traffic controllers will need to occasionally vector aircraft for safety or efficiency reasons or to reroute them around weather systems.

The Finding of No Significant Impact/ Record of Decision, as well as the Final Environmental Assessment, are available on the Cleveland/Detroit Metroplex website, as well as local libraries. You may see them here: http://www.metroplexenvironmental.com/cle_dtw_metroplex/cle_dtw_docs.html

A complete list of libraries with electronic copies is available here: http://www.metroplexenvironmental.com/cle_dtw_metroplex/cle_dtw_introduction.html

Updates on procedure implementation dates will be provided on the project website.