I know this because I've watched that runway-making up close and personal. I live in Dania Beach only a few miles from the airport, you see, and I followed the legal wrangling that went on well before construction began in January 2012. Then like so many folks who drive in Broward County, locals and visitors alike, I have endured endless changes to the roads in the area as the runway slowly took shape.
During all this, I was fascinated to see the evolution of the huge project. Massive beams were trucked in along with even more massive mounds of earth, soil that was piled high into a large hill rising some six stories on the east side. In flat South Florida, it looks like a mountain. The new runway is elevated over Federal Highway, angled southwest to northeast, and cars pass through cavernous tunnels beneath it. Wait until you see this thing. Or land on it. The grand opening on Thursday is scheduled for 10 am with some 600 VIPs on hand as the first landing takes place - an Airbus A320 with another 150 VIPs and media aboard. See what I mean? A big deal. From now on, flying in or out of FLL should be easier than ever. Of course, this always has been the simplest and most pleasant airport in South Florida, an opinion shared by many of my fellow South Floridians. Parking's a snap, crowding normally is minimal except during extreme peak times ... and the airport is a stone's throw from Port Everglades for cruise passengers or I-95 for tourists who want to motor off in rental cars. Oh yes, this week marks the start of a new era for Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. And for Greater Fort Lauderdale. This is no mere strip of pavement. It's the future.