9-Month Project Likely To Put More Air Traffic Over Valley Stream And North Valley Stream, But Five Towns To Get A Lot Less

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Upcoming runway reconstruction at John F. Kennedy Airport could cause headaches in some Nassau County communities.

One-third of the flights will be rerouted to different runways for the better part of next year, CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported Thursday.

Remember the so-called “summer of hell” due to track work?

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John F. Kennedy Airport (Photo: CBS2)

Long Islanders are now bracing for different kind of potential summer of hell when runway work begins. JFK is readying for a $350 million overhaul of one of its four runways, which handles half of its arrivals.

“It is only going to get worse,” Malverne resident Elaine Miller said.

Miller is urging the Federal Aviation Administration to spread out the pain when the runway is shut down from April until the end of 2019.

Air traffic during that time will be temporarily redistributed. Communities under flight paths will see 30 percent more planes. The most impacted communities are expected to be Valley Stream and North Valley Stream.

“You cannot hit the same communities over and over again and the same homes and the same people,” Miller said.

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The group Plane Sense 4 LI predicts the noise will increase in current flight paths throughout Nassau because wind and weather will divert air traffic beyond those two communities.

“My answer is equitable distribution, My answer is higher altitudes. They should not be flying at 1,200-1,500 feet 15-20 miles out of the airport,” Plane Sense 4 LI founder Jana Goldenberg said.

The Port Authority said the temporary closure has long-term benefits. State-of-the-art long-life concrete will replace aging asphalt, resulting in quicker taxiing. Valley Stream Mayor Ed Fare said the extra noise will be hard to endure, but, “try to have patience because it’s a heck of a lot better than having a plane hit a pothole on a runway.”

And what’s noise to some will be music to ears of others. The nine-month closure could mean less air traffic over the Five Towns.

“It’s exciting, good to know. I think it brings the quality of life,” Cedarhurst resident Sharon Zahr said.

The public has until Oct. 29 to weigh in on the Port Authority’s temporary air traffic plan. After that, the FAA will have the final say, Gusoff reported.

You can comment by emailing the Port Authority at JFKEA@PANYNJ.GOV using the subject heading JFK Runway 13L-31R. You can also write to the Port Authority via standard mail at the address below:

The Port Authority of NY & NJ
4 World Trade Center – 150 Greenwich Street, 18th Floor
New York, NY 10007
Attn: Kathryn Lamond

The public comment period will officially close on Monday, Oct. 29 at 5 p.m.