Neighbors pan Middlebury airport expansion plan

MIDDLEBURY — More than 80 area residents turned out at the Middlebury State Airport on Tuesday evening to learn more about a proposed runway renovation/expansion project and voice their concerns about the possibility that those upgrades — and others laid out in a state airports master plan — could bring larger planes, heavier air traffic, more noise and possibly lighting to what is now a modest airfield surrounded by a residential area.
Guy Rouelle, aviation program director for the Vermont Agency of Transportation, outlined $3.5 million in what he called safety-related upgrades that would include removing trees at the southern end of the runway and reconstruction and extension of the runway and taxi apron. The runway would be widened from the current 50 to 60 feet and extended (to the north) by 700 feet, to a total of 3,200 feet.
Residents asked many questions about the project and the potential for future work that they feared could amp up noise and air traffic and potentially pollute water resources in the vicinity of the airport.
Those concerns, along with the manner in which VTrans officials responded to them, will be reflected as part of a complete report that will appear in the May 25 issue of the Independent. The Independent is working under expedited deadlines this week as a result of the upcoming Memorial Day holiday.

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