At a recent meeting of the Chicago Southland Economic Development Corp., Susan Shea, the director of the Illinois Department of Transportation Division of Aeronautics, spoke about recent accomplishments for the South Suburban Airport planning effort.
Illinois Department of Transportation Aeronautics has been working closely with the Federal Aviation Administration to gain approval of the numerous reports required by the FAA to develop a master plan for the airport, as well as the environmental reports that are required.
Director Shea discussed two significant milestones in recent months and days, including the FAA approval June 27 of the Alternatives Development and Evaluation Plan for the SSA’s Master Plan. This approval is significant in that the FAA has now accepted IDOT’s proposed location of the initial runway and approved the runway length of 9,500 feet long, a parallel taxiway, a four-gate passenger terminal, cargo area, general aviation/corporate area, airport traffic control tower and other support facilities.
This approval now allows IDOT to finalize other chapters in the overall Master Plan. In fact, on Aug. 1 IDOT submitted the Airport Access Plan for FAA’s review and approval. This detailed report discusses existing road and highway access in and around the site and discusses proposed highway improvements that will be necessary to best serve traffic flow to and around the airport, both at opening day and five years after the airport opens. The details of this report and others can be accessed at www.southsuburbanairport.com .
Other important chapters of the master plan will be submitted to the FAA over the next several months with our hope that final FAA approval of the Master Plan might come sometime in 2013.
In addition, the state is continuing to acquire property over and above the 2,300 acres already acquired that would be necessary to construct the inaugural South Suburban Airport as described above.
The South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association has long supported the development of the South Suburban Airport and is pleased with the commitment of Gov. Pat Quinn and officials at IDOT to construct this airport as soon as possible. We must not lose the opportunity that this airport brings to improve our access to the United States and the world through this improvement and to the economic development benefits it would bring.
In addition, we are committed to working with all parties involved at the federal, state, county and local levels to establish a balanced and workable governance entity that best serves our area and allows the airport to be built, grow and succeed to all of our benefit.
Ed Paesel is the executive director of the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association. Opinions are the writer's.