Initial efforts have been advanced for the exploration of a new Chicagoland airport in Monee within Will County. Commonly referred to as Peotone Airport for the namesake town just to the south of it, the new facility will build upon the current Bult Field at 28261 S Kedzie Avenue. The push to build an airport here has been ongoing for over 50 years and now state legislators have passed a new bill requiring the Illinois Department of Transportation to start working towards a proposal.
Sitting roughly 40 miles southwest of the city, initial talks on a south suburban airport began in the 1960s as O’Hare began dominating the jet age. However since then plans have consistently stalled with other nearby airports like Rockford and Gary international struggling to attract both passenger and cargo airlines to their already fully-built facilities. It is also both of those airports who have expressed disdain towards the proposed Peotone facility which will only operate cargo flights.
This time around things are slightly different as the state has slowly been buying acres of land for the new airport over the last few decades for a cost of $100 million, acquiring nearly 90 percent of what is needed. If built, site plans from 2014 show a new roughly 10,000-foot runway similar to those found at O’Hare, as well as multiple new hangars and cargo facilities. A new access road will also be built heading west towards I-57 with new access ramps, eventually the airport will purchase additional surrounding land for expansions.
Hoping to build off of the surge in post-pandemic cargo as well as surrounding warehouses and logistic centers, while the airport is troubling locals with its potential environmental impacts and increased pollution. However at the moment the legislation just requires IDOT to enter into a public-private agreement in order to establish a pre-qualification process for vendors to partake in development, financing, construction, and operations of the airport.
The state is also demanding a demand study for cargo operations in order to avoid a build-first and occupy later approach that will waste public funding. If Governor Pritzker approves the bill HB 2531, IDOT will have six months to seek out developers.