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Possible Growth at Ted Stevens Airport Has Some Concerned

Every five to seven years, the Ted Stevens International Airport publishes a master plan detailing upcoming changes at Alaska’s busiest air hub. The latest variation of the plan was released Monday, allowing the airport to qualify for federal funding. While there are a lot of hypotheticals in the document, it makes one thing fairly clear: As Alaska grows and as more visitors come to the state, the airport will have to adapt to increased traffic.

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The south terminal of the Ted Stevens International Airport in Anchorage (photo courtesy of Ted Stevens International Airport).

The south terminal of the Ted Stevens International Airport in Anchorage (photo courtesy of Ted Stevens International Airport).

To do so, the plan lays out a handful of options, including moving some cargo jets to Fairbanks and upgrading existing infrastructure. The airport is also considering paving a new runway in the future, which could impact both the Coastal Trail and Point Woronzof park. That proposal has Anchorage based carpenter David Landry worried.

“What they’re talking about is putting a big rubble rock jetty into the anchorage coastal wildlife refuge, and decimating a really beautiful stretch of the Coastal Trail that a lot of those visitors to Anchorage really enjoy,” he says.

The airport has been floating the runway proposal for a few years, but Evan Pfahler, project manager for the Master Plan, says adding new infrastructure is a last resort. He adds that the plan doesn’t green light any construction. “The master plan is simply that, it’s a plan,” he says.  “It’s not any kind of approval or design that frankly enables the airport to do anything.”

The document will be available for review until August 29, and the public is encouraged to comment.

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