While researching the WPA-style wastewater treatment plant in Astoria, we came across this proposal to extend LaGuardia Airport’s runways. The Draft Environmental Assessment was completed in August 2013 for public review and the public comment period just ended on September 23rd. While the reason behind the extension is pretty standard airport safety stuff, it was the map that surprised us. The boundaries of LaGuardia Airport extend into the water and basically touch Rikers Island, although nothing is built there currently!
Back to the proposal, the 180 feet extension on two runways responds to a Congressional mandate to increase the size of runway safety areas for emergency purposes. The runways in question are currently built over the water and are shorter than the new standard.
A few other fun facts that were revealed in the document:
- There is a man-made topographic feature within LaGuardia’s leasehold called “Ingraham’s Mountain,” an 86 foot high mound created from excavated material from construction of the third tube of the Lincoln Tunnel. This “mountain”sits right next to the Bowery Bay Wastewater Treatment Plant
- The new runway safety areas will be built from “Engineered Material Arresting Systems” (EMAS), “customized cellular cement material, designed to crush under the weight of an aircraft and provide deceleration” because there isn’t enough space to create a “full dimension” runway safety area at LaGuardia.