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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) plans to begin a large scale environmental study for airfield, safety, and terminal improvements at Charleston’s Yeager International Airport — a process that is expected to take about two years.
The FAA is preparing a draft Environmental Impact Statement to evaluate the proposed projects. The agency will hold several public meetings to get more information on the projects and the timeline.
The airport wants to extend its main runway by 285 feet and the parallel taxiway as it makes improvements to the runway safety area. Phase 3 of the ongoing resurfacing and rehabilitation project for Runway 5-23 was recently completed.
Airport Executive Director Dominique Ranieri said the runway extension project will be thoroughly reviewed in the Environmental Impact Study (EIS).
“The proposed project to get us the runway length and standard safety areas would involve filling in a valley,” Ranieri said. ”The area we are looking to fill in would be into Coonskin Park so there’s also mitigating any effects to the park and making sure there are no bats or other endangered species that would be affected by that type of work.”
Ranieri said the FAA’s study may consider an alternative strategy to complete the proposed projects which have to align with FAA design criteria.
For replacing the terminal building, the same EIS study will take into account the airport’s future fleet of aircraft and how best to facilitate the passenger experience.
“We’re looking at much more open, more glass so you can see the beautiful views when you get here, and then of course a big open ticket lobby with lots of space so that you can get your bearings and figure out where you’re going, just a better overall customer experience,” Ranieri said. “And a larger TSA checkpoint – our TSA checkpoint here at CRW is currently too small for the future of the technology they would like to bring in.”
Ranieri said they are looking at the idea of an outdoor terrace for visitors to enjoy as a viewing spot. She said airport officials envision the airport as a crown jewel for the state and city of Charleston with visitors as well as the general public encouraged to use the facility.
The FAA will host two in-person meetings on Nov. 2 and 3, 2022, from 6-8 p.m. at the Embassy Suites in Charleston, and a virtual meeting on Nov. 7, from 6-8 p.m.
Public comment began Sept. 30 and continues through Nov. 17.
For more information and how to participate in the public scoping meetings visit here.