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Work to start on O’Hare’s $70M concourse expansion project

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American Airline’s five-gate addition to Concourse L at Terminal 3 landed its full construction permit

Flickr Creative Commons/Anthony Kernich

While the $300 million expansion of O’Hare International Airport’s Terminal 5 may still be some years off, a smaller sized project to add five new gates to Terminal 3 is a go. The construction of new gates is expected to help Chicago’s busiest airport take better advantage of the runways built as part of a $10 billion modernization program. A scarcity of available gates is often the root of delays, as many passengers arriving at O’Hare can attest.

Concourse L
Google Maps

According to a newly issued construction permit, work on the 50,000-square-foot eastward expansion of Concourse L will cost $70,000,000. Unlike the larger Terminal 5 project which would be financed through the issuance of new bonds and additional ticket taxes, the Terminal 3 addition will see American Airlines footing the bill.

The planned expansions of terminals 3 and 5 will coincide with plans to add two new hotels to O’Hare as well as redevelop its existing Hilton. The hospitality improvements are expected to essentially double the airport’s capacity when it comes to on-site overnight accommodations.

The planned Concourse L expansion can be seen center/right in this illustration.
Chicago Department of Aviation

A longer term plan to add an all-new terminal and a vehicular access point to the western side of the sprawling airport are reportedly still on the table as a future phase. The city had also examined the possibility of adding a high-speed rail link between O’Hare and downtown, though very little regarding that project has been heard in recent months.