NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Tweed-New Haven Airport released an Environmental Assessment (EA) draft Thursday, with airport officials saying its previously announced expansion plans would improve its future environmental impact.
Tweed’s proposed expansion project includes lengthening the runway from 5,600 feet to 6,635 feet, building a 70,000-square-foot terminal on the East Haven side of the airport, and a new airport entrance along Proto Drive in East Haven, with access off Hemingway and Coe avenues.
The 206-page EA draft, which the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires, can be found here. The EA addresses concerns over noise, air quality, and traffic, among other topics.
Extending the runway and relocating the terminal reduces overall noise by reducing the number of necessary flights and shifting aircraft ground noise further from residences. Officials said the airport would also extend its ongoing Residential Sound Insulation Program to include more homes that would otherwise be significantly impacted by aircraft noise.
By relocating the terminal and extending the runway, the airport and its airline partners can reduce the overall impact on air quality compared to doing nothing, with potential air emissions from the construction, forecasted operations, and changes in vehicle trips associated with expansion expected to be well below thresholds set by the EPA.
The expansion would not significantly impact the driver experience at 11 key intersections. A new traffic signal and improvements would be incorporated at the Proto Drive and Coe Ave intersection.
“Completion of this Environmental Assessment marks another successful milestone in our work
to enhance HVN and fully realize a $100+ million investment in southern Connecticut that will
create more than 1,147 direct jobs, in addition to the more than 300 jobs already created in the
last year and a half,” CEO of Avports Jorge Roberts said. “The airport will continue to see
additional activity in the coming years, and the draft assessment makes clear that this project
would reduce the airport’s overall environmental impact to the region as that growth occurs.”
Response to the assessment
Neighbors told News 8 that the report proves the airport should not expand.
“There’s just too much environmental injustice happening now with the air pollution, the models of plans they’re using for noise, and all the uncertainties that are going to happen to residential properties,” Lorena Venegas of East Haven said.
The release of the EA draft marks the beginning of a 45-day public comment period, which will conclude on April 16.
During this time, community members can submit written testimony, which the FAA will review and factor into its decision. The FAA will determine the significance of potential impacts and either issue a Finding of No Significant Impact or require a more detailed study.
The Tweed-New Haven Airport Authority will also host a public information workshop and hearing on April 1 at East Haven High School. The open house-style meeting will occur from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and the formal hearing and public comment session will be held from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.