Construction at LAX Could Increase Cancer Risk for Surrounding Communities, Report Says
A planned construction project to move the southernmost runway at Los Angeles International Airport 55 feet to reduce risk of airplane collisions will increase nearby residents' risk of cancer and exposure to noise during the eight months of construction, an environmental impact report released Monday found, the Los Angeles Times reports. The project, expected to start next year and take 26 months in total, is the first in a series of major renovations planned at LAX over the next 10 years.
The new report, performed by Missouri-based HNTB and required under state law, said that closing the runway during construction will force airport officials to redistribute flights among the remaining three runways. Doing so will require aircraft to taxi farther and stay idle longer, which will increase potential harmful emissions, the report said.
The report estimated that if residents were exposed to air pollution resulting from the construction for a period of 70 years, there would be an additional 19 cases of cancer per million people.
Several cities, including El Segundo, have challenged the $11 billion modernization plan in court, saying that environmental studies for the proposal understate the effects of noise, pollution and traffic.
Airport officials emphasized that air pollution and noise effects noted in the report are the result of recent increases in operations at LAX, in addition to construction.
Residents and legislators in the affected areas had not seen the report and could not comment, according to the Times (Oldham, Los Angeles Times, 8/1).