The Port Authority has shut down one of four runways at Kennedy Airport for six months so workers can repave and expand it, officials said Monday night at a monthly meeting in Hempstead designed to address concerns about aircraft noise.
The $450 million project also includes lengthening the runway, known as 4L/22R, by 1,000 feet to meet federal safety standards and widening it from 150 to 200 feet to accommodate larger aircraft, said John Selden, the deputy general manager at Kennedy during a meeting of the Towns-Village Aircraft Safety and Noise Abatement Committee.
The Port Authority, which operates the airport, will also construct additional high-speed taxiways, which Selden told the committee would lead to fewer flight delays.
Nearly 40 people attended the meeting, which was held at Hempstead Town Hall to allow residents in neighborhoods near Kennedy and LaGuardia airports to address aircraft noise concerns.
Since the project will result in less than 1 decibel of additional noise, FAA records say, the agency has deemed that the plan will not have a "significant" impact on residents living near the airport.
Some residents, however, have contended that any noise added to areas already bombarded by the sounds of roaring jet engines would further erode their quality of life.
The plan, revised by the authority after residents voiced fears about additional noise, also includes shifting the threshold -- where planes touch down -- north by 460 feet. The expansion is necessary to comply with federal design standards, authority officials have said.
Once completed, runway 4L/22R will be able to accommodate larger aircraft, such as the Airbus A380, a double-decker widebody jet that is currently the world's largest passenger airliner. Currently, two runways at Kennedy are wide enough for the A380 to land.
In a separate matter, residents of North Woodmere and Valley Stream at the meeting said they have experienced a "recent" uptick in aircraft noise. They asked officials from the Port Authority and the FAA what is causing the increase.
"We're not doing anything differently today than we've done before," Jim Peters, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, told them.
Many in the audience responded in a collective voice.
"Oh, yes you are," they said.
One North Woodmere resident who asked that his name not be used said when planes from Kennedy Airport fly over his house, his chandelier shakes and his children run to him in the middle of the night, fearful of the noise.