Local News

RDU perimeter fence on hold

Posted January 16, 2020 1:45 p.m. EST
Updated January 16, 2020 2:24 p.m. EST

— A proposed 18-mile fence along Raleigh-Durham International Airport's borders is on hold while airport officials seek a compromise arrangement with neighboring Umstead State Park.

RDU officials had presented the idea of an 8-foot-high, chain-link fence topped with barbed wire as the best way to keep trespassers off airport property.

"No trespassing" signs posted near where RDU abuts Umstead Park haven't stopped anyone, Chief Operating Officer Bill Sandifer told members of the airport authority board in December. Bikers and hikers have even built an elaborate web of trails that include manmade bridges and signage, he said, noting the work is causing environmental damage.

But some criticized the plan, saying the fence would cut off access to the park along Old Reedy Creek Road.

RDU officials met with North Carolina State Parks system officials last week and discussed possible solutions to the controversy.

"Our goal is to find a compromise that allows the airport to secure its property while minimizing the impacts to Umstead State Park and their concerns," RDU spokeswoman Crystal Feldman said in a statement Thursday.

The compromise would include someone leasing 151 acres of airport land for mountain biking, which Feldman said was originally part of RDU’s Vision 2040 master plan.

Separately, officials said Thursday that RDU set a new record for passengers, with 14.2 million people flying through the airport last year, up 11 percent from 2018. Seven months experienced double-digit percentage growth over 2018.

"Along with the increase in passenger volume comes growing pains on campus as we work to position RDU for the future," RDU President and Chief Executive Michael Landguth said in a statement.

Following are some other changes at RDU:

  • The number of available parking spaces in the garage between the terminals will be reduced by an average of 1,150 a week from January through mid-May as part of a project to improve levels 2 through 6. New electronic signs across campus notify drivers which parking lots are open and which are closed.
  • A $3 million baggage handling control system will improve efficiency, reliability and capacity in Terminal 2. RDU will work with the Transportation Security Administration to upgrade its baggage screening equipment in both terminals, and an award for that project is expected to be made in the spring.
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