Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Erie International Airport/Tom Ridge Field (KERI) Erie, Pennsylvania: Millcreek conditionally OK's nighttime work

Crews working on the Erie International Airport runway extension plan to work at night for 20 days, which could cause light and noise distractions for about 35 residents trying to sleep. ll Ave. They already had approved the land-use plan for the expansion.

Millcreek Township supervisors made a little noise of their own about the proposal during their meeting Tuesday.

Supervisors voted unanimously to give conditional approval to the nighttime work, provided they get a plan with details of the work -- including how light and noise would be minimized. They also want the airport to tell residents about the disruptions.

Supervisors suggested that temporary lighting for the nighttime work be directed away from homes.

Supervisor Joseph Kujawa also wondered if the beeping alarms on heavy-equipment trucks -- in effect when they are put in reverse -- could be disabled and replaced with lights during the work.

The work involves the installation of edge lights along the runway extension, edge grading along it and the removal of excess dirt from the grading with triaxle dump trucks.

The $80 million, 1,920-foot runway extension project is on schedule to be completed this year. It will become operational in spring 2013.

Supervisor Brian McGrath said the supervisors are "not looking to hold up the project, by any means.'' But he added: "We'll get the phones calls (from residents) and we need to have answers.''

McGrath suggested the conditional approval, which his colleagues agreed with, rather than requiring the airport to wait until the supervisors' next meeting on July 24.

Tyrone Clark, program manager for the runway project, told supervisors that Federal Aviation Administration rules do not allow the work to be done during commercial and noncommercial flight times.

The work would be done between 10:30 p.m. and 5 a.m.

The township typically bans heavy-construction work between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m., Kujawa said.

Supervisors were surprised when Clark said they wanted to start the work as early as Tuesday night, yet neighbors hadn't been told. Preliminary work already started.

"That's a pretty severe impact to quite a few residents,'' McGrath said. Neighbors from Ford Avenue east to Oregon Avenue would be affected by the nighttime work, he said.

Clark said after the meeting that the supervisors would get a plan and the neighbors would be contacted. "We'll get right at it,'' he said.

Millcreek Solicitor Evan Adair said the township has rules against such work being done in the middle of the night, so the airport should have provided plenty of notice.

"You could have been here a month ago (with the request),'' he told Clark. "You could have, but you weren't.''

Supervisor Richard Figaski asked, "Where was the planning in this?''

 Supervisors also approved a sewer plan for a 37,632-square-foot manufacturing and warehouse addition at F&S Tool Co., 2300 Powell Ave. They already had approved the land-use plan for the expansion.

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