Runway extension may cut road

EASY NOW: A JSF coming in to land.
EASY NOW: A JSF coming in to land.

A PROPOSAL to extend the runway at Williamtown RAAF Base could impact on transport into Nelson Bay according to concept drawings published by the Department of Defence.

Defence is considering three options for the extension of the runway as part of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) being put together in preparation of the arrival of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).

Two of the options proposed intersect with Nelson Bay Road, a NSW Government maintained road and the main link between the Tomaree Peninsula and Newcastle.

While the designs are still in the concept stage, a spokesman said Defence was considering the viability of the three options, including any impact on Nelson Bay Road.

The spokesman said detailed discussions on the designs with the state government were premature until the viability of the options were better understood.

However, a Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) spokeswoman said RMS staff had attended briefings about the proposed extension and had been advised the most likely option would not impact on Nelson Bay Road.

She also said Nelson Bay Road could be relocated to avoid the runway extension if it did intersect.

"RMS would need to be consulted further as the Joint Strike Fighter project proceeds," she said.

An extension of the runway to 10,000 feet was necessary for training safety reasons, but had the effect of reducing the number of afterburner takeoffs, which would reduce noise pollution.