Managing During Construction

A close-up look at how Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport is managing its airfield during major construction — an issue that’s coming under increased scrutiny by FAA. Also, Midway’s new runway arrestor system.


OMP has already issued 14 contracts for construction that include $559 million worth of services. According to Andolino, the project has been encouraged to and tapped city-wide contracts including demolition and public relations services to save on the bottom line.

Moving Dirt; Going to Court; Finding $$
O'Hare's modernization of its airfield now underway is already an ambitious project, with four million cubic yards of dirt moved; 41,000 linear square yards of concrete poured; and, an entire creek relocation — among other items. Yet, land acquisition and a pending court ruling have limited construction to site prep work.

As released in October 2006, a $400 million shortfall has reset the projected total to about $3.2 billion. According to OMP Executive Director Rosemarie Andolino, a majority of the additional cost is attributed to a robust real estate market and a constant battle with project opponents.

The land necessary for the OMP was assessed in 2001. Since the program was announced, properties have been developed and the redeveloped land has accounted for $270 million of a growing budget divide; with over 200 homes yet to turn over their keys, the working budget continues to grow.

"We're talking about a high dollar, very complex construction program," says City of Chicago commissioner of aviation Nuria Fernandez. "[ORD] is one of the larger construction programs at an airport in the world in terms of the quantity of work and the dollar value for the construction in place, and it's happening at one of the busiest airports in the world. We have realized that it's going to pose some challenges..."

The City of Chicago has filed a Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) application to recover the shortfall, whereby it will be reimbursed $4.50 per enplaned passenger, beginning June 1, 2016 and projected to end February 2018.

 

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