South Anchorage residents prepare for increased air traffic
Tom Parr and his family have lived in their Anchorage hillside home since last July. They used to live near Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, but decided it was too loud.
"We were moving away from the airplane noise of where we lived previously," Parr said.
Most jets take off from the airport on the north-south runway. However, starting April 1 that runway will be closed and air traffic will use the east-west runway — and fly over South Anchorage, where Parr now lives.
"What can I do about it, not much," Parr said.
Airport manager Jim Szczesniak says crews will be working to finish the major renovation of the runway.
"Last summer, we got about 20% of the work done," Szczesniak said. "This summer, we've got about 80% of the work to get done, so it's a big, big concentrated effort that we have to do this this summer."
That means more flights over South Anchorage. Parr said he's concerned for his young daughter, who is autistic.
"She's very sensitive to noises that we can't even hear," Parr said. "It happens a lot less up here, but she'd be woken up, especially when the big cargo jets would take off where we lived. They would shake the foundation."
Airport officials may have found a way to reduce some of the noise. Szczesniak said pilots have been asked to reduce thrust once they get to 800 feet after takeoff, then go back to full thrust at 3,000 feet.
The work on the runway will take place around-the-clock, seven days a week, until it's finished in October. Parr has just one request.
"If it's going to be done quickly, go faster," Parr said.
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