Mon, Apr 06, 2009
Runways Need To Be Lengthened To Support Commercial
Sikorsky Memorial Airport (BDR) in Connecticut remains the
object of a bitter three-way tug-of-war between two towns and the
The airport is owned by the City of Bridgeport, but lies
entirely within the boundaries of the Town of Stratford. The last
scheduled airline service there ended in 1999, in part because both
its runways are under 5,000 feet long.
Bridgeport said the runways needed to be lengthened to bring
back the airlines. Stratford NIMBYs fought back. The state of
Connecticut has talked about taking over the airport to move
forward with the expansion plan it approved. Stratford has
countered that it wants to buy the airport itself.
The latest chapter in the story is a mandate from the FAA for
overrun safety zones for the runways. A chartered Piper Navajo with
nine on board overran the runway in April 1994, and the NTSB ruled
the eight fatalities were caused by fire, produced by collision
with the rigid blast fence at the end of runway 6. There have been
three accidents in which planes crashed through the fence and out
onto Stratford's Main Street.
As ANN reported, in September 2008 leaders
broke ground on a $27 million renovation project at BDR, including
plans for several new hangars, as well as a new general aviation
The US Army agreed in the past to sell an old engine plant to
the city of Bridgeport to provide just over an acre of land in the
needed area, allowing re-routing of Main Street and installation of
a 300-foot-long Engineered Materials Arresting System. But NIMBYs
painted that as a runway lengthening, and blocked it.
Now, The Connecticut Post reports there's a deal to sell the
Army's plant to Stratford, which wants to develop the land. The
City of Bridgeport filed suit Thursday to stop that sale. The FAA
is not amused, and has threatened to take over the airport through
eminent domain laws to end the bickering and get the needed safety
So, that makes a four-way tug-of-war.
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