Elected officials took a tour of the south runway expansion project at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, which is 50 percent complete.
The new $791 million runway will stretch west and be built up and over U.S. 1 to hand heavier jet traffic. Traffic on that stretch of the road will eventually travel through tunnels underneath it.
U.S. Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Lois Frankel and Broward County Mayor Kristin Jacobs toured the project Monday. They said it has employed 44,000 workers.
"Just this runway expansion project alone is creating a million dollars a day that they're spending just building this runway expansion," said Wasserman Schultz. "That's really a big boost for South Florida, for Fort Lauderdale in particular."
“This is about job creation and transporting people in and out more efficiently without delay,” said Frankel. “The cost of the project will be made whole within three-and-one-half years.”
The new runway will rise 65-feet above the ground and be 8,000 feet long when it's finished in September 2014. Kent George, the aviation director to FLL, said the runway will alleviate delays.
"Fort Lauderdale is one of the most delay-prone airports in the country up until recently," he said. "When this new runway is completed, we won't be delay prone. We will be able to go up to 450,000 operations."
George added that flight delays generally cost an airline $42 per minute.
“The extension of the South runway was necessary to accommodate growing demand and keep flight delays to a minimum," he said.