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Wednesday, May 4, 2011 - 12:09pm

Gulfstream Expansion Gets Corps OK

U.S. Army Corp of Engineers officials have given their approval for an 890-acre expansion at the Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport.

The project will allow the airport to make several improvements -- including building a new taxiway and a tunnel for traffic to flow underneath a taxiway.

But it also will allow Gulfstream Aerospace to expand their headquarters.

"The permit not only allows for the airport to complete its projects for North Aviation Development, but it also allows Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation to begin construction on its announced $500 million dollar expansion project that will add more than 1,000 jobs to the Savannah economy," says Airport Director Patrick Graham.

The Gulfstream expansion is on 175 acres.

The airport's governing body had to get U.S. Army Corp of Engineers approval because the projects will affect 42 acres of federally-recognized wetlands.

"After careful coordination with our state and federal partners, our team put forth a tremendous effort to expedite the permitting process for the Savannah airport project, while developing a fair and balanced mitigation plan to avoid, minimize and compensate for any impacts made to our nation's waters," says Col. Jeffrey Hall, commander of the Corp's Savannah District.

The affected wetlands will be compensated through the purchase of 277 wetland credits from several approved mitigation banks – essentially, sites where aquatic resources are restored, established, enhanced or preserved to offset impacts and comply with the Corps' "no net loss of wetlands" policy, according to a news release from the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers.

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