Hillside neighbors say airport construction is costing them sleep
You may be hearing it from your home, as there's a lot more noise in the city this summer from planes flying overhead.
A runway renovation project at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport started this month, which has rerouted aircraft over some neighborhoods not used to all the noise.
The airport is redoing its north/south runway -- which hasn't been repaved in 15 years.
Airport manager Jim Szczesniak says that has to be done now or it could become dangerous. But several neighbors in south Anchorage have contacted KTVA with complaints, saying that the project is keeping them up at night.
The hillside is normally a pretty peaceful neighborhood, where many move to get out of the city and away from all the noise.
Besides some normal daytime sound, neighbors say it's pretty quiet -- that is, until this month.
"It just rattles the house, it's not quite the earthquake, but it is-- it's loud," said Cyndy Cox, who lives just off of O'Malley Road.
Jets have been re-routed over the area at all hours because of construction on the airport runway.
"Some of us are a little lighter sleepers, you know, some people have commented, 'oh, wear earplugs, get over it.' I don't think that's a very compassionate response," said Cox's neighbor, Dana Seagar. "I think everybody is entitled to sleep soundly at night."
While the move is costing some their sleep, others say they kind of enjoy it.
"It's fun just to listen to them go over, you know, people are headed someplace or coming from someplace and it's helping the economy and so, as a result, you just sort of live with it for a while," said Stan Summers, who also lives in the area.
Live with it they will, but some are just wishing they'd had more of a heads-up.
"I think that that's the courtesy, like even if our neighbors are going to do something, they knock on your door as say 'hey, we're going to do this,'"Cox said.
For its part, Szczesniak says the airport did everything it could to involve neighbors in its plans.
"We've been spending the last couple months going to community councils, working with local legislative leaders and the assembly so that they're aware of the potential of what's coming on," Szczesniak said. "Our website has a link to the information on there, and we've been putting it on social media as best we can."
Szczesniak also notes that project managers have tried to strategically design flight traffic to minimize the noise over homes and are working with pilots to try to reduce their thrust on departure. But, he says some disturbance is inevitable.
Now, Szczesniak says plans on the project are concrete. With construction already started, there's too much time and money at stake to try to change any pieces of the runway renovation -- leaving those in the planes' new path little choice but to ride it out.
The good news, Szczesniak says, is that the new flight pattern is only temporary. In fact, parts of the north/south runway will be running again by mid-next month, which should help alleviate some of the traffic over homes.
This is year one of a two-year construction project. So, residents can expect jet traffic to pick back up again next summer, and in that case, Szczesniak says, the noise is going to last all summer long.
Szczesniak says runway renovation runs about $70 million, but the majority of that is federally-funded.
Copyright 2018 KTVA. All rights reserved.
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