Terminal 3 at Chicago O'Hare International Airport is undergoing renovation to improve the passenger experience. Credit: MKPhoto12 via Shutterstock.
The total estimated investment in the project is $300m. Credit: Thomas Barrat via Shutterstock.
The project is expected to be completed by 2027. Credit: Bo Shen via Shutterstock.

Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), situated in Illinois, Chicago, US, is embarking on a significant renovation of Terminal 3 under the ElevateT3 project to enhance the passenger travel experience and maintain its status as a pivotal transportation hub in North America.

The project is part of the $8.5bn O’Hare 21 long-term capital investment programme aimed at transforming the airport into a premier international hub. O’Hare 21 includes several other projects such as the Terminal 5 expansion and O’Hare Global Terminal.

The ground-breaking ceremony for the renovation project took place in April 2024. Construction is expected to be completed in 2027. It will be undertaken in a phased manner to ensure operational continuity throughout the construction period.

The airport serves 70 million passengers a year and is a centre for numerous international airlines. The ElevateT3 project is set to enhance customer amenities, bolster security screening and airport operations, and broaden accessibility for passengers with disabilities.

Terminal 3 renovation details

Terminal 3 at ORD is one of the airport’s largest terminals located within concourses G, H, K, and L, which together house 75 gates. The ElevateT3 project will include the expansion, demolition, and reconfiguration of existing spaces.

The renovation will streamline Transportation Security Administration checkpoints by combining them into a single, more efficient screening area. The central passenger corridor between Concourse K and L will be expanded, tripling its current width.

In addition, the hold room spaces at Gates K1 and L2A will be expanded to improve the passenger experience and 10,000ft² of new concessions and amenities will be developed.

Construction of a new baggage claim area, a baggage make-up area, and an advanced baggage handling system are also part of the project.

Additionally, the terminal will see a reroof and the installation of new mechanical, electrical/low-voltage, plumbing, and fire protection systems, restroom renovations, and the addition of family restrooms.

ElevateT3 project phases

The first phase of the Terminal 3 improvements will see a three-storey expansion on the airside, providing additional space for a new baggage makeup area and airline Club space.

It also involves relocating the existing inbound bag claim area with new bag claim carousels, expanding airport/airline support spaces, renovating security checkpoints, and restrooms, and renovating existing space on the mezzanine level.


The US Department of Transportation has allocated approximately $1bn in grant funding through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Airport Terminal Program for 2023 and 2024 to 114 airports for enhancing air travel demand, passenger experience, accessibility, and sustainability while also generating employment opportunities.

ORD has been awarded a substantial portion of the funding, receiving a $50m grant in February 2023 and an additional $40m in February 2024, totalling $90m for the Terminal 3 upgrade.

The remaining costs of the Terminal 3 upgrade will be covered by previously allocated federal funds, airline rates, and charges.

Contractors involved

The construction of the ElevateT3 project is being undertaken by COT3, a joint venture between construction companies Clark Construction Group and W.E. O’Neil Construction.

The COT3 team also includes Cotter Consulting, a consulting company based in the US, and McKissack & McKissack, an architectural, interiors, programme and construction management business based in the US.

Various other contractors have contributed to the project, including AERO Systems Engineering, Introba, Connect Chicago Alliance, Cardosi Kiper Design Group, Kimley-Horn & Associates, Magnusson Klemencic Associates, Morlights, Studio 08, Studio ORD, and Syska Hennessy Group.