Tweed runway expansion in hands of state legislators

NEW HAVEN - Proponents of a Tweed New Haven Airport runway expansion plan hope to get cleared for take off before the close of the Connecticut General Assembly’s legislative session Wednesday night.

Having the lawmakers give the go ahead to extending the runway by 1,000 feet, would be a ticket to more commercial flights in and out of what proponents said is an under-served market.

Monday night, the New Haven Board of Alders overwhelmingly passed a resolution that would support the bill, before the General Assembly, which not everybody is thrilled by.

A faithful walker, who pushes her son on the streets surrounding Tweed New Haven Airport, some 10 miles per day, was sweating out the airport runway expansion talk.

“Having all of that traffic and people already drive crazy so I don’t wanna put me and my son at risk that would kind of hinder our walks,” said Clare Criscuolo of East Haven.

You’re adding 500 and something cars a day or families driving through Morris Cove and the east side of New Haven, where right now it’s 100 and something,” said Sal DeCola, the Alder of the 18th Ward, which includes Morris Cove where the airport is located.

But the plan to extend the runway by 1,000 feet, accounts for increased traffic flow, according to New Haven Mayor Toni Harp.

“Roundabouts are very effective and speed humps are effective,” said Harp.

Across the street from the airport, Jessica Ferraro lives with her boyfriend and their son  in a home she grew up in.

“There’s been like hundreds of car accidents here,” she said, pointing to the airport entrance. “People coming to and from the airport. They think there is a stop sign there and there and sometimes they don’t stop.”

The airport serves just over 30,000 commercial passengers annually now, 20 years ago, it was roughly 130,000.

“And, there wasn’t a lot of complaining about traffic back then,” Harp noted.

Noise and air pollution are concerns of area residents, as well. But, for New Haven’s economy to soar, the mayor said a runway expansion is a must.

“One of the things we’ve heard, from some of our growing businesses here, Alexion, for one, is that they couldn’t get their salesforce in and out of here quickly,” Harp said.

Alexion announced last September they were moving their headquarters from New Haven to Boston.