Well, many of you make good points, and they have all already been accounted for. If you have a minute, please scroll down until you see your comment (or just read them all). Original responses are in bold, and my responses to yours are in normal typeset. Because many of you commented on Gary, those issues are all addressed at the bottom, together...
Isn't Kansai slowly sinking?
unfourtunately, no. Kansai is not slowly sinking, as it was designed to do. it is quickly sinking.
Precisely. Kansai was built simply by pouring dirt en mass into the lake, ton upon heavy ton. The airport's runways opened at 40 ft. above sea level and are currently passing 18. The terminal itself is supported literaly by sliding metal plates under the various support columns.
With Chicago Mayors Daley International (MDI or KMDI), the proposed airport, the island would be supported on triangular mirrored-pyramid steel beams. And don't worry, the loads they'd have to bear would be far less than those of the average large-scale bridge. They would be close enough together and great enough in number and strength that the failure of any one, two, or even ten would not be a problem. Because the island would end up being "hollow" the net weight gains on the lake bottom would be nill, as would (therefore) the rate of sink.
1- OK, you build luxury apartments at the site of Midway Airport. You are not going to be able to lease them to anybody. Nobody who could afford a $3000-$4000/month apartment would want to live there. (and don't kid yourself; those would be cheap rents on Chicago standards)
2- Pollution. Midway has been an airport for almost 70 years. Back in the day (well, heck, to this day to some extent) fuel, oil, glycol, ect would get spilled/dumped on the ground without much of a thought. Most GA airfields are unusable for anything else because of 30-40 years of pilots spilling leaded fuel samples on the ground checking for water.
3- Infrastructure. How will you get people to this major airport out in the middle of the lake. Where will the expressway be built from? How will you get enough fuel out there for airliners. Pipeline? Now you've got a pipleline full of Jet-A running right through the middle of Chicago's drinking water supply.
4- Cost. People in America aren't generally as interested in boondogle public works projects for the sole reason that "we COULD do it" as the public in SE Asia is right now. We already went through that stage
1- My original post stated that apartments would run for as low as $1000/mo. There is no reason for which this couldn't be as low as $750. Without the noise pollution of Midway, this neighborhood would be relatively pleasent. While Chicago's south side is often associated with nastiness, the Midway area is as much to the West as it is to the South. This project would offer nice, affordable housing, and without Midway's noise the land value would rise anyway. The entire area would undergo a regrowth.
2- There's no reason that land which supports an airport now couldn't support another airport. This land would be transferred carefully to the middle of the top of the island's upper soil layer. It would not contact the water at all, and water draining off of it would be filtered (see comments below). In any case, landfill would be placed in the Midway site instead of on the island, resulting in wholesome land for construction.
3- Don't worry, there will be no pipelines and no visible connections. The expressway connection, currently called I-790, will run from just north of Navy Pier to the island, via underground/water tunnel. The tunnel option was far preferable to a bridge because it is immune to weather, ship collisions, and airplane crashes. At the airport end, the tunnel would remain underground. At Chicago's end, the tunnel would rise up from underwater to connect with Lake Shore Drive and the existing Kennedy Expressway (90/94) branch which reaches out to Ohio St. The new connection would run over Ohio St. out to I-790. The area where the expressway rises up from underwater would form a huge new pier. At the center of this pier would be a new, tall tower. Real estate therein would provide another good funding source for the project (remember that property East of Lake Shore Drive really doesn't exist except for one or two locations, and on the North side of the city, it would be phenomenally valuable). Anyone objecting to having their lake-front view obstructed would be offered a newer, larger, same-rent condo. in the new tower. The tower's base and all connecting roads would be in the underground I-790/Lake Shore Drive interchange, so the tower would flow literally right into the fields of grass and trees making up the new park area. This huge new park would be named Lake Shore Park and would replace the existing one which isn't even on the Lake Shore and is very very small. Oil and other fuels would be shipped to the island by tankers which would dock at far-side Berths, just as at Kansai.
4- On the contrary, in SE Asia its the governments which want these "boondogles", not the people. In the US we have a sense of pride for such things. But this airport isn't about that anyway, it's about solving a problem. No one gets put out of their houses, no business are relocated, and the new airport is very very accessible. Ten to fifteen minutes of straight, uninterupted driving takes you right into the heart of the city. (By the way, the integration phase would involve making LSD wider to accomodate the increased flow).
Reclaiming the lake is nothing new in Chicago
Who said the Lake was Chicago's to reclaim?
Lake Michigan is a large body of water but it IS still just that...a Lake. Actually one of the most precious natural fresh water resources in the world, and the only one completely within the borders of the US. This is not like an ocean, folks....pollution doesnt wash in and out with the tide.
A massive construction project the size of which has been proposed could conceivably foul the whole southern end of the Lake with sediment(already polluted by decades of industrial negligence in the Chicago area) , and states and communities from Chicago's North Shore to Montreal could be affected. The Great Lakes ecosystem is already in enough trouble.
This project would be hard for environmentalists to argue, thouguh knowing them they'll find a way. Just as beavers build dams, we as humans have both the right and obligation to develop this planet to best suit our needs and respect others'. Legally, the lake is Chicago's to reclaim because anything South of Wisconsin's border and West of Indiana's is part of Illinois and since no other town has laid claim to it... we'll be the first.
You are entirely right about its preciousness and at least 95% right about its delicacy. Almost every other airport similar to KMDI drains outwards. Kansai, for example, has an incredible network of drainpipes running from the entire airfield and apron to a virtual sewer system which empties right into Osaka Bay. At KMDI, water would run inwards, to a central filtration plant, and then be expelled pure. The result is that the airport would act as a huge purification system. Also, the shoreline areas are proven to aid life in general. Fishes and Chicago's infamous Zebra Muscles would amass themselves on this new shoreline. Ultimately, the airport would do as much good as bad. Also remember that "noise pollution" is largely a human term. O'Hare airport is as good a place to go to see rabbits, birds, and prairies as it is to see airplanes. Therefor, the KMDI airport with the proposed closure of KMDI would drastically reduce noise polution, prevent huge polution increases to land-based areas such as Peotone, O'Hare's surroundings, or the already-filthy Midway. So you talk about strict environmental regulation. Well how's this for strict - an airport which not only doesn't harm the environment, but actually turns around and helps it!
Undertaking a massive airport construction project just to free up some land to build condos sounds a bit small sighted to me.
You would be right except that that's not the point. The original post was made on the assumption that many of you had read my earlier posts about the KMDI project in its original phase. This is only a small sub portion of that larger concept. The airport idea is to keep airports from expanding in populated areas, yet at the same time to be closer to Chicago than any existing ones (including, beleive it or not, Gary). By building the airport where and how it has been proposed here, traffic would occupy a new, "pure" (straight and uninterupted) expressway into Chicago directly, not miles and miles of stringing through suburbs and intersections on existing expressways which are already frequently filled to capacity. In any case, you are right when you say that it would be asinine to do it just to free up some land. That's a very small part of the overall idea.
What about the bad fog that is forever lousing things up at CGX? There is fog over the Lake practically every few days. Can we say "delays?" What about all the fish habitat etc. that will be destroyed?
Bad fog? No comprende. Lake Michigan is home to winds, not fog. This would be the second time fog has been mentioned as a potnetial threat. The first time it was brought up the solution was simple: What fog? Where did you get this from? Fog is not a major problem on the lake. Also, fog itself isn't enough to keep planes from landing. At CGX, yes, perhaps, for little things with limited instrumentation... At an international airport fog would not alone keep things from happening. That requires nasty winds and rains, and those would affect O'Hare as much as the MDI. In looking into the weather, it seems that the biggest problem with the lake is - of all things - waves, and those are easy to avoid. Fog simply isn't a problem (not to mention that there really isn't much of a fog situation here in Chicago).
All that Gary Stuff
What about expanding GYY?
I've always maintained the the solution is a re-habbing of Gary, IN airport and a freqent high-speed train from the Loop to Gary, as well as MKE with a few stops in the suburbs. Too bad the fact that those airports are in different stats creates a political nightmare that would probably be insurmountable. Oh well...
As for expanding GYY, it isn't too far from Chicago, but the neighborhood around GYY is, well, not the best. Don't quote me, but I think the town of Gary was voted Murder Capital of the Country or World not too long ago.
quote me. it wasn't voted... it is.
Well, thank you all for making the point for me
! Actually, the nation's capitol, Washington DC, has a higher murder rate, but if you've ever been to Gary you'll know what these guys are talking about. It consists largely of very outdated steel factories which are massive, unsightly, Star Trek's "Borg" -like structures of old, rusting metal make. The stench in that city is often thick and fowl, and crime is, obviously, no foreigner. As it is, Gary's airport is very underused. The terminal has been renewed but is still no larger than the average Interstate rest area. If you get there at the right time, you'll see a lonesome Pan Am 727 (with winglets!) flying in and out of the airport. Just as Midway is often considered "lower class" or "secondary" when compared with O'Hare, Gary is considered the same step down from Midway. As an airport already underused, it is not choice for expansion. Also, let me point out that the propaganda you hear about it being in a good location is simply untrue. It is accessed only by very small very
poorly maintained roads which wind through junkyards and abandoned factory areas. The airport itself is occupied by a grand total of 4 airplanes (or less) at any given moment, and 3 of these are old WW2 era planes. The Confederate Air Force maintains the Western Hemisphere's only JU-52 at this airport (I think it's a 52, either way, it's a Junkers and the only one within a gazillion miles). Expanding the airport on any useful scale would not be easy, and ultimately you'd have to go ahead and do some landfill anyway - but this area is as polluted as it can get and that would be an environmental travesty. That, combined with the fact that the airport would have to have odd and twisted expressways added which would link to the Chicago Skyway - creating huge traffic jams and delays of up to 2.5 hours - makes this option unpleasent. All of that is assuming that Indiana feels like letting Chicago use an airport wihch rightly belongs to it anyway. Granted, no one flies to Gary unless they want the Pan Am cheep ticket into Chicago, but Indiana and Gary will have their soap box about us essentially taking over NW Indiana.