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Sustainability paves way for Runway 2-20
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Sustainability paves way for Runway 2-20

In 1989, the Joliet Regional Port District purchased the Lewis University Airport with the intention of transforming the small single-engine-plane facility into a modern-day airport that could handle today’s large corporate jets.  The Port District selected Hanson to help make this vision a reality on a shoestring budget. 

Hanson first prepared a financial feasibility study to consider a $5.6 million revenue bond issuance for construction of a 90,000-square-foot airport terminal and hangar.  Once the bond was issued, Hanson began providing planning, design and construction services for a new primary Runway 2-20, which would support jet aircraft as large as the Gulfstream G-V; an extension of Runway 9-27; and the installation of instrument approach equipment and taxiway lighting systems on Runways 9 and 2.  Furthermore, by partnering with ComEd and Mineral Solutions, the Hanson-Port District team designed a groundbreaking financial and environmentally responsible plan.

The project’s major components included:

  • tapping new and unusual funding sources such as the Federal Aviation Administration’s innovative financing grant,
  • designing embankment fill using free fly-ash residue from Illinois’ coal power plants saving the Port District $15 million in conventional fill material and labor, and
  • constructing a 6,500-foot runway comprising one of the largest environmental-reuse projects in the nation at the time of its completion.

Providing architectural and engineering services to the Port District over a 15-year period, Hanson played an integral role in the development of Lewis University Airport.  Today, the FAA recognizes Lewis University Airport as a vital general aviation reliever facility for the Chicago metropolitan area.

Project Quick Facts


Joliet Regional Port District


Romeoville, IL

Date Completed:


Areas of Emphasis:

Aviation Transportation Buildings & Facilities

Services Provided:

Electrical Engineering Impact Assessments Geotechnical Engineering Planning Construction Project Management Site Development Engineering Structural Engineering Surveying Waste Management Water Resources Engineering


2010 American Council of Engineering Companies of Illinois, Honor Award


""The Port District is very proud of its accomplishments in providing a first-class aviation gateway to Will County.  We have a new runway thanks to the support of our partners ComEd, Mineral Solutions, Hanson, and state and federal representatives."" ~A. Chris Lawson, Director of Aviation, Joliet Regional Port District