O'Hare Runway Expansion Begins

August 12, 2016

Chicago city officials participated in groundbreaking events Thursday for the new $648 million O'Hare International Airport runway.

Runway 9C/27C will be 11,245 feet long and 200 feet wide, and will be completed in three phases from east to west. It will be the sixth east-west runway, which planners said will reduce flight delays, and better spread out jet noise in communities east and west of the airport. It is expected to open in 2020.

CBS2 News reports:

 Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans said construction of Runway 9C/27C will “open up O’Hare in a way that hasn’t happened for 50 years” by allowing more and larger planes to land.

People living around O'Hare and the northwest side of Chicago aren't satisfied with the new runway's configuration because it will not relieve the noise impact on their homes. Some anti-airport-noise activists fear that the planned shutdown of 14R/32L diagonal runway in 2018 will reduce the airport's ability to balance noise among communities. Another diagonal has already closed. A new "Fly Quiet" plan to reduce nighttime noise makes use of the diagonal runway that is going away.

Bob Sisk, chairman of the ALPA Central Air Safety Committee, said the new expansion allows more airplanes to come into the airspace using parallel runways which are safer and more efficient than crossing runways.

The new runway is part of a $1.3 billion infrastructure project at O’Hare. The plan also includes new de-icing pads, a new taxiway system, new hangars and ground-support equipment buildings.

The infrastructure project is expected to create about 4,900 jobs.