Officials Plan Massive Heliport South Of Las Vegas Strip

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Aviation officials are planning a massive new
heliport in a small town just south of the Las Vegas Strip.

The 229-acre site near Sloan could have between 80 and 110 helipads as early as 2010, making it the world's largest public-use heliport, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

The first phase is estimated to cost $115 million.

Airport spokesman Chris Jones says it's too early to predict whether all 80 helipads would be built at the site because no Grand Canyon tour operators have formally agreed to lease space there.

The number of helipads on the site will be based on demand.

Aviation officials say the heliport is needed to divert helicopters away from residential neighborhoods, where residents complained of overhead noise.

The heliport also will clear airspace for jetliners flying into McCarran Airport.

The first phase is undergoing a final environmental assessment. A report on the findings should be given to the FAA by the fall, and the agency should sign off on the report by the end of the year.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-05-16-08 1015EDT

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