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July 12, 2010

SSA Floodplain Surveys Initiated

SPRINGFIELD — Susan Shea, Ph.D., director of the Illinois Department of Transportation’s (IDOT) Division of Aeronautics met on July 7, 2010, with AECOM, Hanson Professional Services Inc. and URS personnel at the South Suburban Airport Field Office to discuss the initiation of floodplain surveys (see surveying photo located to the left) for the South Suburban Airport project.  AECOM and Hanson will conduct the floodplain surveys while URS will monitor this process on behalf of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The National Environmental Policy Act requires the investigation of impacts to floodplains by developments that require a Federal Action, such as the construction and operation of the South Suburban Airport (see the watershed map located to the left). In addition, Executive Order 11988 requires the FAA to “evaluate the potential effects of actions it may take in a floodplain to avoid adversely impacting floodplains wherever possible.”

To facilitate this data collection, the FAA recently approved IDOT’s use of new LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology to document those areas on the site that could be prone to flooding. The use of LIDAR, in combination with more traditional field surveys, is expected to provide a cost savings for this portion of the master plan.

“I am excited that this new technology is being implemented on our important airport project. Completion of the floodplain analysis will help us understand the level of effort we need to make to preserve the environment during the construction and operation of the airport,” says Shea.

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