Waukegan National Airport

Project Summary

Waukegan National Airport is designated as a national airport under the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) general aviation asset program because of its role in supporting national and global markets. The airport functions as a primary reliever for Chicago's O'Hare International Airport and maintains the longest runway available between O'Hare and Milwaukee. The airport is a vital economic engine for Chicago's North Shore, with its large core of global companies located and headquartered in Lake County. These businesses operate the largest aircraft in today's transcontinental aviation fleet.

Site challenges required extensive coordination with area stakeholders to develop the best solution for implementing documented runway improvements for safety and available length. The airport's primary runway is only 6,000 feet long, while the detailed runway length analysis completed at the request of the FAA identified a critically needed length of 7,000 feet. And, regionally important highways pass within 500 feet of each runway end. Conservation lands lie adjacent to the runway site. The preferred solution requires a grade separation if FAA-mandated runway safety areas are to be provided. 

In addition to the customary engineering of runway/airfield, bridge and tunnel design, the project includes an FAA runway design standards review, obstruction review and analysis, public input and stakeholder engagement, consensus building and negotiation, and project media.

Key project highlights include:

  • Completion of all elements of the airport master plan outline of FAA Advisory Circular 150/5070-6, Airport Master Plans
  • Data collection and approval of GIS data under FAA Advisory Circulars 150/5300-16, -17, and -18.
  • Analysis of Declared Distances and Runway Safety Area and Runway Object Free Area deviations.
  • Coordination with the Illinois Department of Transportation and Lake County Forest Preserve during the IDOT Phase 1 planning and Preserve's Waukegan Savanna Concept Planning.
  • Consensus building with airport tenants and users and funding agencies.
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