Runway Expansion Program
Airports capable of supporting passenger air carrier operations are required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to have Runway Safety Areas. To preclude shortening the usable runway length to achieve the required safety areas, the Airport is expanding Runway 12-30 and associated taxiways to the northwest by approximately 1,900 feet. The expansion requires relocation of Elgin, Joliet, and Eastern Railroad (EJ&E), a subsidiary of the Canadian National Railroad, tracks that currently sit less than 150 feet from the northwest end of Runway 12-30.
The relocation of the EJ&E tracks requires railroad right-of-way construction that impacts the CSX Railroad and the Norfolk Southern Railroad. In May 2011, the Airport and three railroads signed a Final Memorandum of Understanding that addresses construction projects and allows the EJ&E track relocation to continue forward.
In addition to acquiring and preparing property for the runway expansion program, the Airport has relocated a massive fuel storage tank from along Cline Avenue, restructured a portion of the Cline Avenue access road between Gary Avenue and Chicago Avenue, buried high-voltage power cables previously strung between towers along Cline Avenue, and built an electrical transfer station to accommodate the buried high-voltage cables.
Projects underway include additional property acquisition and preparation, design of a vehicle overpass on Airport Road to span the current CSX Railroad and future EJ&E Railroad tracks, design of two EJ&E Railroad bridges to span Norfolk Southern Railroad tracks, and design of a new Airfield Lighting Vault to replace the current facility that is unable to support the additional electrical capacity required by the runway expansion. Construction of the runway and taxiway extension segments is slated to start in 2012. Connection of the segments to the existing runway and taxiway, as well as relocation of ground-based navigation equipment, is slated for 2013. The entire runway expansion program is scheduled for completion in December 2013.
Major funding sources for the runway expansion program include the FAA ($60.6M), the North West Indiana Regional Development Authority ($50.0M), the Chicago Department of Aviation ($9.5M) through passenger facility charges, and the Federal Highway Administration ($6.0M).