A decision to construct a new runway in Irkutsk airport was accepted on July 23, 2001 at a session of the administrative committee of the governor of the Irkutsk area.
However, before the government of Russia will help the area financially, it is necessary to present the project of reconstruction of the Irkutsk airport to the Ministry of Transport. Yesterday, engineers of the Khabarovsk Design and Survey Institute of Civil Aircraft (Dal'aeroport) once again explained the construction details of an additional strip. It should be built at a 33 degree angle to the existing strip. Although the new runway has called a "turnaround," the two strips will actually be beside each other.
The new runway will be over 4 kilometers in length and 60 meters in width. According to the main engineer on the project, Jury Miropol'sky, the institute has been working on the question of constructing a strip in Irkutsk since 1984. During this time engineers developed 6 variants of a turnaround. The one chosen today was the optimal version. First of all, when the new strip goes into service, planes will cease to fly up above city. This will considerably decrease the noise levels experienced by the inhabitants of Irkutsk. Wind loading conditions will also be more favorable in the new direction. Wind conditions will ground planes only 2% of the time, as opposed to the present 80%.
According to the project's designers, it will be necessary to equip the strip with modern engineering to provide for safe takeoffs and landings, including radionavigation equipment, weather-monitoring instruments, and an emergency rescue station. The new strip will require the excavation of 7.5 million cubic meters of earth, including 5 million cubic meters in rocky areas. Nevertheless the proposed project can be done at less than a tenth of the cost of a new airport. The estimated cost of construction is 140 million dollars (assuming an exchange rate of 1 dollar to 30 roubles).
It is necessary to solve a number of problems before construction can proceed. First, a memorial to victims of political reprisals must be preserved. Second, it will probably be necessary to transfer 250 hectares of valuable arable land from an experimental-demonstration facility (economy) of "Baikals." Other similar issues also exist.
However, developers assure us that the innovation will bring many more benefits than inconveniences. It is planned to submit the feasilitily report on the construction of the new runway to the Ministry of Transport on October1-2. If ongoing financing can be obtained, construction could be completed in three years.
newspaper "Segodnya v Irkutske" N 54 ( 172 ) July, 24, 2001, Tuesday