FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -

Broward County's aviation director is defending the plan to demolish an exit ramp at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport that funneled drivers onto southbound U.S. Highway 1 into Dania Beach and Hollywood.

"We've had this on our plan about this since the beginning," Broward County Aviation Director Kent George told Local 10's Roger Lohse.

"There is the public perception that the airport pulled a fast one on this. You say what?" Lohse asked George.

"No, that is an erroneous perception," George said.

At a public hearing last week, furious residents and business owners complained they were never told about the new plan to divert those southbound drivers all the way around the east end of the new runway and dump them onto U.S. 1 at Griffin Road.

Greg Stuart, who heads up the Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization, a panel of local elected officials that approves how federal dollars are spent, said the airport didn't divulge its southbound exit plans at its final presentation on the project two years ago.

"If you look, the southbound ramp is actually still shown here without any type of X over it or any real reason to believe it was going to go away," Stuart said. "It wasn't brought out."

George said the only concerns were the height of the new runway and noise from the new flights and he denies a clandestine effort to avoid this exit issue during the public hearing process.