Safety Improvement Project

Keeping Lake County’s Economic Engine Running

The Waukegan National Airport needs safety improvements in order to continue serving Lake County.

Runway 5/23 has reached the end of its useful life. The airport is required to update its infrastructure to meet today’s federal safety regulations.

The airport is a critical foundation to Lake County’s economy, and is used by law enforcement and emergency responders, critical healthcare providers, flight training schools, and local businesses; all of whom depend on the airport.

Fortunately, due to careful planning, the airport can complete the project while continuing to operate by building the replacement runway alongside the existing Runway 5/23.

Once the safety improvements are completed, the Waukegan National Airport will continue to serve Lake County for decades to come and make an even greater economic contribution to the region.

Q&A

What would change at the airport?
• A new 7,000-foot replacement runway will be about 1,000 feet longer than the current one and meet all safety laws and regulations
• New taxiways will be located at required distances from the runway for safe operations
• New runway safety areas slightly extend airport property, and will act as buffers at the ends of the runway to ensure safe operations

What would NOT change at the airport?
• No commercial passenger operations (No United, American, Southwest, etc.)
• No large cargo operations (No UPS, FedEx, Amazon, etc.)
• No significant increase in flights. Today’s 50 take offs and landings daily will only increase two or three per day over the next 10 years.
• No change in type of aircraft using the airport

What is Waukegan National Airport’s impact on the local economy?
The Waukegan National Airport contributes an estimated $181 million to the local economy annually and is expected to grow to $236 million by 2030. The airport supports more than 900 local jobs. More than 25,000 people work for companies that depend on the airport for business operations. The airport generates $11 million annually in tax revenue to state and local governments.

How would the project be funded?
The cost estimate for the safety improvement project is $143 million. Funding would come from federal and state capital grants. The remainder would be paid by the users of the airport. There would be no local taxes required or raised to pay for this project.

How much land would be acquired?
To create the FAA-required runway safety areas, new land needs to be purchased by the airport. The airport has been purchasing land for many years as part of this plan. Additionally, about 51 acres of Forest Preserve land, 40 residences, 6 businesses and vacant land would need to be purchased for the project. Property acquisition will follow federal regulations.

How would the airport manage the surrounding land?
The 51 acres purchased from the Forest Preserve would be not used for the new runway. It would remain open space but would be incorporated into a safety buffer area as part of the airport. The land would be cleared of invasive growth and trees that could be a safety hazard for aircraft. The land would be compatible with adjacent Waukegan Savannah Forest Preserve property. The airport would also work with the Forest Preserve on wetland mitigation.

Are there other benefits of the project?
The long-sought widening of Green Bay Road near the airport would take place at the same time as the airport project, ending a traffic bottleneck. The 5-lane road would go under the replacement runway and through traffic would be maintained during construction.

The Lake County Forest Preserve would be able to connect a multi-use trail segment, linking Waukegan and North Chicago to the trail network. This would be funded by the airport project and benefit the surrounding area.

What are the consequences of not proceeding?
The airport is required to meet FAA standards. Without the new runway replacement project, the airport would be closed for 3 years to reconstruct the existing runway, significantly reducing its economic impact on the region. A reconstructed runway could be shorter than what exists today, limiting future operations.

Companies that depend on the airport would go elsewhere and might not return when the airport reopens. Emergency responders and critical healthcare users would lose an important asset. The future sustainability of the airport would be stymied.

Environmental Assessment

In accordance with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements, the airport is developing a Draft Environmental Assessment (DEA) to evaluate the potential impacts of the proposed development. The DEA is required to follow the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations.

Learn more about the Environmental Assessment process and how to submit questions.

Submit Comments and Questions

Comments and questions on the project can be submitted to the following addresses.

 

General Contact

Runway 5-23 Program Comments

Waukegan National Airport

2601 Plane Rest Drive

Waukegan, IL 60087

 

Environmental Assessment Project Team

WaukeganEAComments@projectpublicmeeting.com

Overview

Keeping Lake County’s Economic Engine Running

The Waukegan National Airport needs safety improvements in order to continue serving Lake County.

Runway 5/23 has reached the end of its useful life. The airport is required to update its infrastructure to meet today’s federal safety regulations.

The airport is a critical foundation to Lake County’s economy, and is used by law enforcement and emergency responders, critical healthcare providers, flight training schools, and local businesses; all of whom depend on the airport.

Fortunately, due to careful planning, the airport can complete the project while continuing to operate by building the replacement runway alongside the existing Runway 5/23.

Once the safety improvements are completed, the Waukegan National Airport will continue to serve Lake County for decades to come and make an even greater economic contribution to the region.

Q&A

Q&A

What would change at the airport?
• A new 7,000-foot replacement runway will be about 1,000 feet longer than the current one and meet all safety laws and regulations
• New taxiways will be located at required distances from the runway for safe operations
• New runway safety areas slightly extend airport property, and will act as buffers at the ends of the runway to ensure safe operations

What would NOT change at the airport?
• No commercial passenger operations (No United, American, Southwest, etc.)
• No large cargo operations (No UPS, FedEx, Amazon, etc.)
• No significant increase in flights. Today’s 50 take offs and landings daily will only increase two or three per day over the next 10 years.
• No change in type of aircraft using the airport

What is Waukegan National Airport’s impact on the local economy?
The Waukegan National Airport contributes an estimated $181 million to the local economy annually and is expected to grow to $236 million by 2030. The airport supports more than 900 local jobs. More than 25,000 people work for companies that depend on the airport for business operations. The airport generates $11 million annually in tax revenue to state and local governments.

How would the project be funded?
The cost estimate for the safety improvement project is $143 million. Funding would come from federal and state capital grants. The remainder would be paid by the users of the airport. There would be no local taxes required or raised to pay for this project.

How much land would be acquired?
To create the FAA-required runway safety areas, new land needs to be purchased by the airport. The airport has been purchasing land for many years as part of this plan. Additionally, about 51 acres of Forest Preserve land, 40 residences, 6 businesses and vacant land would need to be purchased for the project. Property acquisition will follow federal regulations.

How would the airport manage the surrounding land?
The 51 acres purchased from the Forest Preserve would be not used for the new runway. It would remain open space but would be incorporated into a safety buffer area as part of the airport. The land would be cleared of invasive growth and trees that could be a safety hazard for aircraft. The land would be compatible with adjacent Waukegan Savannah Forest Preserve property. The airport would also work with the Forest Preserve on wetland mitigation.

Are there other benefits of the project?
The long-sought widening of Green Bay Road near the airport would take place at the same time as the airport project, ending a traffic bottleneck. The 5-lane road would go under the replacement runway and through traffic would be maintained during construction.

The Lake County Forest Preserve would be able to connect a multi-use trail segment, linking Waukegan and North Chicago to the trail network. This would be funded by the airport project and benefit the surrounding area.

What are the consequences of not proceeding?
The airport is required to meet FAA standards. Without the new runway replacement project, the airport would be closed for 3 years to reconstruct the existing runway, significantly reducing its economic impact on the region. A reconstructed runway could be shorter than what exists today, limiting future operations.

Companies that depend on the airport would go elsewhere and might not return when the airport reopens. Emergency responders and critical healthcare users would lose an important asset. The future sustainability of the airport would be stymied.

Environmental Assessment

Environmental Assessment

In accordance with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements, the airport is developing a Draft Environmental Assessment (DEA) to evaluate the potential impacts of the proposed development. The DEA is required to follow the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations.

Learn more about the Environmental Assessment process and how to submit questions.

Submit Comments and Questions

Submit Comments and Questions

Comments and questions on the project can be submitted to the following addresses.

 

General Contact

Runway 5-23 Program Comments

Waukegan National Airport

2601 Plane Rest Drive

Waukegan, IL 60087

 

Environmental Assessment Project Team

WaukeganEAComments@projectpublicmeeting.com