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The city plans to release a study of possible locations for alternative heliports in Juneau later this month.
The city hired engineering firm Michael Baker Jr. Inc. to work on the heliport project this summer. The study examines 17 areas in the borough for air safety, noise impacts, flight routes, infrastructure, ownership, availability, access and other factors, said McKie Campbell, a senior environmental manager with the engineering firm. Some of the areas had two or three sites that could serve as heliports.
"Part of what we did was computer modeling," he said. "We had helicopters fly routes from the sites and monitored them from different locations to check against our projections."
The results will be posted on the city's Web site on the afternoon of Sept. 24. The city plans a public meeting at 7 p.m. Sept. 25 at Centennial Hall to give people a chance to ask questions and comment, Assistant City Manager Donna Pierce said. It will be up to Juneau's Assembly members to decide what to do next, she said.
Four sites were studied in detail, but the city doesn't want to release additional information yet because the draft study isn't complete, Pierce said.
The U.S. Forest Service released a draft Environmental Impact Statement this summer that will help set the number of helicopter landings on the Juneau Icefield. Juneau District Ranger Pete Griffin said the agency plans to review the city's heliport study, and, depending on the results, decide what sort of additional environmental analysis might be needed in the landings study.
Joanna Markell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.