Major Renovation Project at KORD Finally Wraps

 - September 13, 2021, 2:06 PM
These aerial images show the dramatic transformation of Chicago's O'Hare International Airport over the past decade. The image on the left was taken in 2011, several years after the start of the O’Hare Modernization Program. The image on the right was taken this year, showing the new runways and associated changes made during the course of the $6 billion development project. (Photos: Chicago Department of Aviation)

Officials in Chicago are celebrating the conclusion of a 16-year, $6 billion modernization program at O’Hare International Airport (KORD), one of the world’s busiest gateways. Under the O’Hare modernization program, the airport’s outdated runway system was reconfigured into a series of parallel runways running east-west to increase capacity. Since the beginning of the program, system-impact delays have been slashed by 64 percent, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation, which operates the airport.

“Thanks to this project, which features eight completed runways, we will be able to reduce delays and increase O’Hare’s efficiency, allowing us to build on the airport’s reputation as one of the best in the country,” said Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot.

The expansive project—whose final step involved the lengthening of Runway 9R-27L by 3,290 feet to 11,260 feet—included the extension of Runway 10L/28R to 13,000 feet and construction of four new runways: 9C/27C (11,245 feet), 10C/28C (10,800 feet), 9L/27R (7,500 feet), and 10R/28L (7,500 feet). In addition, three crosswind runways—14L/32R, 14R/32L, and 18/32—were decommissioned.

“This overhaul has been years and roughly $2.5 billion federal dollars in the making," said Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois). “By investing in increased gateway capacity, updated screening technology, and reduced airfield congestion, the O’Hare modernization program will help secure Chicago’s status as one of the most important transportation hubs in the world.”