On October 17, 2011 airport officials, along with U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Randy Babbitt, City of Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson, and several members of the Ohio Congressional delegation, broke ground on a new FAA-funded Air Traffic Control Tower and Terminal Radar Approach Control Facility, which will replace the existing tower, originally built in 1988. The $69 million tower will be equipped with the latest technology—allowing the airport to seamlessly integrate with the FAA’s move toward a Next-Generation (or “NextGen”) Air Transportation System.
Located on the south end of the airfield, the 324-foot, state-of-the-art control tower will provide air traffic controllers with a vastly superior aerial view of aircraft arriving into and moving around the airfield. The new tower, which will be equipped with a radar facility that controls air traffic within a 30-mile area around CLE, is scheduled for completion in 2014.
The tower is one element in a coordinated program of airfield safety improvements. The airport’s other recent safety enhancements include:
- Extending the principal take-off runway 1,000 feet;
- Removing the runway/taxiway intersection that was the principal source of runway incursions (i.e., taxiing aircraft accidentally entering active runways);
- Closing the center runway, which was a source of confusion;
- Eliminating intersecting taxiways, which caused lapses in communication between pilots and ground traffic controllers; and, most recently
- The installation of EMAS (Engineered Material Arresting System, a collapsible concrete surface that prevents aircraft from overshooting the runway) to both ends of the cross-wind runway.
Passenger safety is and always will be Cleveland Hopkins International Airport’s paramount concern. With these recent and on-going projects, CLE will remain at the forefront of US airport safety well into the future. The new tower represents the capstone to the facility’s airfield enhancement program.