With approximately 2.7 million residents, Chicago, Illinois, is the third most populated city in the United States and the gateway to the U.S. Midwest, acting as an international hub of finance, commerce, industry, technology, telecommunications and transportation.

After years of wear and tear, the city’s O’Hare International Airport—the world’s second-busiest airport—required modernization to host its projected 46.3 million international and domestic visitors and its new American Airlines terminal, the facility’s largest airline, carrying more than 45 percent of all traffic.

The City of Chicago needed a team of aviation experts to modernize the facility without disrupting its usual operations. After a competitive bidding process, AECOM was hired as lead program manager for US$ 2.9-billion Phase 1 of the project, which includes:

  • Reconfiguring intersecting runways into a parallel layout to increase efficiency and capacity;
  • Designing and constructing three new runways;
  • Relocating three miles of existing Union Pacific Railroad tracks;
  • Relocating the water detention basin on the south airfield;
  • And additional updates required to complete the full modernization.

When completed on time and under-budget in October 2013, O’Hare International Airport was updated with the following key features:

  • New 7,500-foot by 150-foot (2,286-meter by 46-meter) Runway 9L-27R on the north side of the airport;
  • 2,861-foot (872-meter) extension to existing Runway 9R-27L, now known as Runway 10L-28R;
  • And, a new 10,600-foot (3,231-meter) Group VI Runway 10C-28C on the airport’s south side.

AECOM’s creative design and critical thinking skills dramatically modernized Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport to increase efficiency and capacity.

This project was awarded honors from the Illinois Engineering Companies Association as well as the Construction Industry Service Corporation for its innovative approach to solving a complex problem in the heart of America’s Midwest.