Frequently Asked Questions

Below please find typical questions regarding a project’s environmental process.  If you have additional questions, please forward them to this Project Website’s email.  Depending on the number of inquiries, your question and response may be added to this list.

Who owns the Waukegan National Airport?
The Waukegan Port District owns and operates the Waukegan National Airport, the Waukegan Harbor/Marina and the Port of Waukegan.
What is the Waukegan National Airport project?
The Waukegan National Airport pursuing the development of a Replacement Runway 5/23. The replacement runway will be constructed approximately 400 feet to the northwest of the existing runway centerline. The replacement runway will also be shifted approximately 1,100 feet to the southwest and will be 7,000 feet in length.
Why does the Airport need to construct a Replacement Runway 5/23?
The existing Runway 5/23 does not meet current FAA design standards related to runway safety areas, runway object free areas and runway gradient. The existing runway is also too close to the present parallel taxiway and aircraft parking aprons.
Will the Replacement Runway 5/23 turn Waukegan National Airport into another O’Hare?
No. Waukegan National Airport is a general aviation airport, not a FAR Part 139 Commercial Service Passenger Airport like O’Hare. Waukegan is designated by FAA as a general aviation reliever airport. This means the Waukegan National Airport only provides general aviation/corporate aircraft access to Lake County.
Will the Replacement Runway handle passenger aircraft from airlines like United, American, and Southwest?
No. The replacement runway will not be designed to serve the airlines and will only be designed to handle general aviation/corporate aircraft that presently use Waukegan. In addition, Waukegan is located between Chicago O’Hare International Airport and General Mitchell International Airport, two of the largest passenger airports in the United States. No airlines have stated their desire to initiate any air passenger service at Waukegan National Airport.
Will the Replacement Runway Program construct a runway that will handle big air cargo aircraft?
No. Typical air cargo aircraft that use Chicago O’Hare International Airport are large Boeing 767’s and Boeing 747’s. The Replacement Runway Program facilities (runways, taxiways, and aprons) will not be designed to handle these large air cargo aircraft. Also, no air cargo carrier has approached the Airport to start any air cargo service.
What process does the Replacement Runway Program go through to get approved?
Approval of the Replacement Runway Program is vested in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) One of the documents used in the FAA’s decision process is the preparation and review of an Environmental Assessment. Other Federal, State, and local units of government will be asked to review and approve, as appropriate, portions of the plan.
What is an Environmental Assessment (EA)?
An Environmental Assessment (EA) is a document prepared for the FAA, that examines the environmental impacts of the Replacement Runway Program. A typical EA explores topics such as noise impacts, air quality impacts, wetlands impacts, floodplains impacts, possible impacts to threatened and/or endangered species, cultural resources impacts, Section 4(f) properties impacts, and other environmental resources. The EA is the main document for sharing and disclosing environmental information with Federal, State, Local agencies, and the General Public. Once the Draft EA receives Federal approval for public release, the EA will be available for download on this Project Website. For more information see below “Where or how can I review the EA, when it becomes available?” The EA is a necessary step in adhering to NEPA.
What is NEPA?
The National Environmental Policy Act or NEPA was signed into law in 1970 by President Richard M. Nixon and requires federal agencies, such as the FAA, to assess the environmental effects of their proposed actions prior to deciding on the project.
Where or how can I review the EA when it becomes available?
When the Draft EA becomes available, it will be available for download on this Project Website. Paper copies of the Draft EA will also be available for review in several government offices and libraries.
Will there be a Public Hearing on the Replacement Runway Program? If so, when?
Yes, there will be a public hearing. The public hearing date and time will be set upon FAA’s acceptance of the Draft EA. The type of public hearing (in-person or hybrid or virtual) will be determined based on the health protocols that are in place at the time of the hearing. The type of public hearing will be disclosed in the Public Hearing Notice and on the Project Website.
How can I find out where and when the Public Hearing is scheduled?
Once a public hearing date and time has been established, a Notice will appear in the Lake County News-Sun, a regional newspaper based in Gurnee, IL. The Notice will also be available on this Project Website.
Have Alternative Runway Actions Been Considered?
Yes, several alternatives were analyzed. The Draft EA, once released, will provide details on the alternatives considered. NEPA also requires that the No Action Alternative must always be considered in an EA.
I am a landowner in the Project Area, and it appears I may be impacted by the Waukegan project. What do I do? Where can I get information?
First and foremost, communication is the key. The Airport’s Project Website will provide information on the project, downloads of environmental documents and provides communication (emails directly to the Airport) to get answers to your questions. Stay informed on the project through the this Project Website. Also participate in the Public Hearing Process by providing your comments and questions.
It appears the project will be buying my land. What are my rights?
All land acquired for the Replacement Runway Program, will be purchased using Federal requirements. Below please find three documents that describe those Federal requirements.
Uniform Relocation and Real Property Assistance Act of 1970.
Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations Part 24 – Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition For Federal and Federally-Assisted Programs. Part 24 provides guidance on implementing the Uniform Act (link above).
Land Acquisition for Public Airports. This brochure is published by the Illinois Department of Transportation and describes property acquisition and relocation assistance for airport projects.
How can I get involved?
The Environmental Assessment process provides a number of opportunities for providing comments. Please visit the Project Website or it can be reached at and click on the Environmental Assessment button.