Friday, December 4, 2009

Concepts for new airport unveiled

Planned facility 5 to 9 times bigger

Detailed design concepts that show a much bigger replacement airport for Friedman Memorial were unveiled Tuesday for the airport's governing body.

A packed audience in the meeting room at the Old County Courthouse in Hailey was held spellbound as the concepts, one for each of the three principal sites now being studied, were displayed on a screen. Compared to Friedman's some 200 acres, the proposed new airport ranged in size from five times as large to nine times.

In overhead perspectives of the designs presented by airport consultant Landrum & Brown, illustrations covered total land areas varying from 1,000 to 1,100 acres at Site 12 alongside U.S. Highway 20 on the far western edge of Blaine County abutting the Camas County line; 980 to 1,000 acres at Site 4 alongside U.S. Highway 20 one mile east of state Highway 75 in the so-called Bellevue Triangle, and 2,000 acres at Site 10-A east of state Highway 75 and south of the Timmerman Hill area in southern Blaine County.

In addition to the airport layouts, Landrum & Brown CEO Mark Perryman and Planning Director Dave Rickerson also previewed concepts for redeveloping the land now occupied by Friedman Memorial.

The complete set of illustrations is posted online at Select the FMAA Meetings and Agendas tab in the left menu bar, and choose FMAA meeting power point from the drop down menu that appears. Select the link for L&B Power Point Presentation - December 1, 2009.

If the replacement airport is constructed as envisioned, it would be an elaborate complex of hangars, a terminal, aircraft parking ramps, fuel farms and fueling stations, de-icing ramps, vast areas for ancillary activities and operations, and passenger parking adequate for a projected 50 years.

Based on yearlong weather and wind studies at the three sites conducted by the consultants, the 8,500-feet-by-100-feet runways would generally be on east-west alignments. Site 10-A's runway would be on compass headings of 70 degrees-250 degrees; Site 4's at 80-260 degrees and Site 12's at 100-280 degrees. Friedman's runway is more north-south—130 degrees-310 degrees.

A major modification would be needed at Site 12. Rickerson pointed out that Highway 20 would need to be relocated south of its present route for several miles to allow the eastern end of the runway and runway protection zone to be constructed. Rickerson said he does not believe that modification would automatically disqualify the site from consideration.

Rickerson took pains to point out that all of the concepts are just that. Final designs would depend on financing and final studies of what the replacement facility would need to meet future demands.

However, Blaine County Commissioner Larry Schoen, attending the meeting as an observer, immediately challenged further consideration of Site 4, pointing out that the site is notorious for its flooding. The Federal Aviation Administration requires that environmental studies be conducted for all three sites.

In color-coded depictions of how the present Friedman land area might be redeveloped, the consultants showed various approaches for including single-family and multi-family housing, commercial and light-industrial activities.

When Friedman is closed, half the 211-acre airport would be sold to recover FAA funds that will go toward construction of the new airport; the other half would be retained by the city of Hailey.

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