Taxiway J project paves the way for new people mover
(February 5, 2015) - Runway operations at Tampa International Airport are set to change next week with the closure of the Taxiway J Bridge for demolition and reconstruction as part of the airport’s Master Plan expansion project.
On Feb. 11, Taxiway J, which spans the George Bean Parkway, will be closed as construction begins to make room for the airport’s new people mover. The project is expected to last 19 months.
For those unfamiliar with Taxiway J, this is the bridge aircraft use to cross from the west to the east side of the airfield after landing on Runway 1L, TPA’s main runway.
During the bridge closure, all corporate jets will be allowed to land on the airport’s noise sensitive runway on the east side of the airport and some commercial jets will be assigned to land on the same runway between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. This is necessary to prevent the congestion and safety risks that would result if all planes had to taxi around the north end of the airport to reach gates on the east side of the terminal.
The change will result in more aircraft noise in neighborhoods adjacent to the airport.
Use of the noise sensitive runway will be limited to the busiest times of the day when it is most necessary from an operational standpoint to reroute planes and people are more likely to be away from home.
“This is, first and foremost, a safety measure to protect passengers, employees and aircraft movement,” said John Tiliacos, Tampa International Airport’s Vice President of Operations and Customer Service. “However, we also want to be a good neighbor to our surrounding homes and businesses and will continue to do all we can to monitor and mitigate noise impacts for the duration of this taxiway project.”
He said the airport has a long history of engaging communities surrounding the airport through the airport’s Community Noise Consortium Program. As always, Tiliacos said the airport aims to stay vigilant and responsive to noise concerns through the airport’s voluntary noise abatement program, which has been in place for more than 40 years.
Anyone hearing concerns from friends, family or neighbors is asked to pass those messages along or to refer them to www.tampaairport.com/noise-abatement where they may submit a comment or question to the airport’s Noise Office.
No passengers will be delayed or impacted as a result of these changes.
The change to the airport’s runway operations is not the only change resulting from the closure of Taxiway J.
An auxiliary Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) station has been built at the vacant North Air Cargo Building, located on the airport’s northwest corner.
The construction of the new temporary ARFF boils down to the need to maintain a rapid response time to all reaches of the airport.
The current ARFF, located just to the east of the Taxiway J Bridge, allows fire rescue units to access the farthest reaches of the campus within minutes. With the bridge closure, however, that is no longer possible, thus making it necessary to open a secondary ARFF station.