New use for Chanute considered

Local News

RANTOUL, Ill. (WCIA) — The former Chanute Air Force Base could be home to a research opportunity attracting people from all over the world.

The Illinois Center for Transportation already has unique pavement testing simulations. Now, leaders want to add a nearly 250 acre test track site.

It would allow studying of everything from self-driving cars, more fuel-efficient practices and live testing of different road conditions. ICT’s director says it would be a combination of many different types of research.

“Most importantly, we are trying now to put all the cutting-edge research and the talents that we have at the University of Illinois and other universities together.”

If the test track comes to the base, it would also be a big boost for the village. Administrators say it’s especially true when it comes to the economy.

“We’re looking at an over $25 million project. But, after it’s built, we expect a lot of visitation from other places, researchers coming into town. We also think that this will spur some investment from the private sector for businesses that want to locate in Rantoul.”

He says, aside from this, he’s heard from about a dozen other groups this year which are interested in space on the former Air Force base.

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