(Map courtesy of Clark County Department of Aviation)

Vanasse Hangen Brustlin Inc., Watertown, Mass., has been selected by the Clark County Dept. of Aviation to prepare a $14.2-million environmental impact statement for a new $4-billion airport complex, just outside of Las Vegas. The proposed airport is situated on a 6,000-acre dry lake-bed in the Ivanpah Valley, about six miles north of the California border.

Plans call for a 14-gate terminal building and two parallel runways, with 2,000 acres allocated for flood control. The airport, scheduled to open by 2017, initially will service 6 million passengers a year, says Randall H. Walker, Clark County’s aviation director.

The Ivanpah facility will supplement McCarran International Airport, which quickly is nearing its 53-million annual passenger capacity. The 2,800-acre, four-runway airport expects 44.5 million passengers this year.

But every new room added to the city’s hotel inventory brings another 320 passengers through McCarran, Walker says. With billions of dollars of investment in new Strip development, the crunch could come soon. McCarran will shift its focus to short-distance flights when Ivanpah comes online.

"This will be the first new major airport in the country since Denver," says VHB Senior Vice President Jonathan L. Feinstein. "In addition to the airport, there will be 14,000 acres of land for commercial and industrial development." VHB was selected in a national three-stage competition held over the summer.

The final EIS is to be completed by 2010. Upon approval, design will take three years, followed by four years of construction. The county has retained URS, San Francisco, as its construction management consultant.

Environmental issues to be studied include air quality, noise, and wildlife.