Sat, Jun 23, 2012
Working On An Agreement To Allow Progress On Safety Improvements At Sikorsky Memorial Airport
The Mayors of Stratford and Bridgeport, CT traveled to Washington, D.C. this week at the request of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. The Secretary called the meeting to discuss proposed safety improvements at Sikorsky Memorial Airport (KBDR).
The last runway improvements were completed at KBDR in 1982, and the main runway does not meet current FAA safety standards. The Connecticut Post reports that there have been four accidents in which an aircraft ran into the runway fence over the past 17 years. In 1994, eight people were fatally injured in such an accident.
The airport is owned by Bridgeport. But an agreement reached in 1978 with Stratford, where it is actually located, requires the towns' permission "for the acquisition of land for extension of airport runways." Stratford official have been adamant that the agreement be honored.
Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch's chief of staff Adam Wood told the paper that Secretary LaHood appeared "dismayed" that there has been no action on the safety zones. He said the two parties will be talking "on a daily basis" to try to resolve the situation, and that the Secretary plans to have a department representative assist in the negotiations.
When the FAA approved a runway safety zone in September of last year, Stratford Mayor John Harkins said it did not take pedestrian and vehicular traffic into consideration. He also cited a lack of maintenance on the drainage system on the part of Bridgeport, as well as blight on the airport grounds.
Harkin at the time called the safety zone decision akin to "putting a piece of duct tape on a screen door." He did not comment on the meeting with LaHood.
Judd Everhard, a spokesman for CT DOT Commissioner James Redeker, told the paper that the meeting was "productive," but that the Secretary had encouraged both mayors to "be more flexible" and to "get the issue resolved ... soon."
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