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July 12, 2010

Historic and Cultural Resources and Archaeological Surveys Reviewed for SSA

SPRINGFIELD — Susan Shea, Ph.D., director of the Illinois Department of Transportation’s (IDOT) Division of Aeronautics met on July 7, 2010, with John Walthall, Ph.D., IDOT’s chief archaeologist, and Tom Emerson, Ph.D., director of the Illinois State Archaeological Survey (ISAS). The focus of the meeting was to update these agencies on recent land acquisitions and to review the status of ongoing cultural resource studies at SSA.

In assisting the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in its preparation of the SSA environmental impact statement (EIS), IDOT is required to adhere to the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. IDOT also is required to coordinate projects with the State Historic Preservation Officer and the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. During their discussions, Walthall confirmed that cultural resource studies conducted on the SSA site total approximately 15,000 acres.  Emerson noted that due to the nature of SSA’s generally flat topography and poorly drained soils, prior to the onset of modern agricultural use, the area did not lend itself well to occupancy by the state’s earliest inhabitants.

Director Shea looks forward to working with both agencies as the FAA prepares the Tier 2 EIS and as IDOT continues to acquire property for the South Suburban Airport.

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