Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport in the US has commenced work on its runway extension project, which is expected to entail an investment of $334m.
The Runway 9R / 27L extension project is a part of the $8.5bn O’Hare Modernization Program (OMP) and is expected to be completed in 2021.
The project includes expanding the length of the runway by 3,000ft to provide runway access to larger aircraft.
OMP, or O’Hare 21, aims to reconfigure and balance the airfield, improve its efficiency, increase its capacity and decrease the system impact delays.
As a part of the project, six east / west parallel runways have replaced the intersecting, diagonal runways.
City Council of Chicago approved the $8.5bn O’Hare 21 plan to modernise the airport in March last year.
It was approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in 2005.
The project is expected to generate 1,600 jobs in construction and professional services over the next two years.
Chicago Mayor Lori E Lightfoot said: “We are very excited to begin the final phase of the O’Hare Modernization Project as we move forward with our full vision for O’Hare airport with the $8.5bn O’Hare 21 programme.
“Chicago’s status as a global city rests on O’Hare’s ability to handle the ever-increasing demand capacity and today’s ground-breaking stands as a major milestone in ensuring a seamless experience for everyone passing through our city for years to come.”
The ground-breaking ceremony was attended by Lightfoot, US Senator Richard J Durbin and Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, along with representatives from the Chicago Department of Aviation, United Airlines, American Airlines and the FAA.
In March, Chicago selected Studio ORD to lead a team of architects to design the $2.2bn global terminal of O’Hare International Airport, which is part of the expansion project.
Last November, O’Hare International Airport opened a new ground transportation centre to improve connectivity for passengers commuting to and from the site.