O’Hare 21 - Terminal 5 Expansion Telecommunications Infrastructure
The City of Chicago’s historic $8.5 billion O’Hare 21 project is underway to modernize O’Hare International Airport with new facilities and modern infrastructure over the next decade, marking the largest expansion and first major capital improvements to its passenger terminals in more than 25 years. O’Hare 21 will grow the airport’s overall terminal square footage by more than 60% from 5.5 to 8.9 million square feet, increase aircraft gate frontage by 25% and deliver a more streamlined passenger experience to enable O’Hare’s future growth by better connecting travelers and Chicago to other parts of the world.
The massive investment aims to set new records and fuel more connectivity, tourism and economic impact for Chicago well into the future. O’Hare 21 is projected to directly create more than 60,000 jobs over the course of the program. The overall regional economic impact is expected to contribute at least $50 billion to the region and create at least 460,000 regional jobs in the next eight years.
The project will be delivered in phases, with an expanded Terminal 5 representing the first major terminal upgrade at O’Hare. Construction of the satellite concourses and supporting infrastructure will begin in 2022. Once the satellites are online, construction of the O’Hare Global Terminal can begin, replacing Terminal 2. The program also includes enhancements to integrate Terminals 1 and 3 into the O’Hare Global Terminal to enable seamless passenger connections.
Work to expand and revolutionize the traveler experience at O’Hare is already underway, most notably at Terminal 5. The $1.2 billion renovation is expanding the 1990s-era terminal by 350,000 square feet with the addition of ten new gates,15 new dining and retail locations, six new security lanes, an upgraded baggage handling system and improved immigration facilities.
Designed by architecture firm Muller & Muller, the expansion of the 25-year-old international terminal is expected to be completed in 2021 to accommodate larger aircraft, reduce delays and add more space for passenger amenities such as airline lounges and concessions. More aircraft gate capacity will allow O’Hare and its airline partners to reduce delays by improving access to gates for arriving aircraft and handle a wider range of aircraft more efficiently.
Level-1 is working closely with Muller & Muller to implement the design of Terminal 5’s telecommunications infrastructure and electrical systems.
O’Hare reclaimed its top spot as the nation’s busiest airport in 2018 by operating more than 900,000 flights for the first time since 2007. As O’Hare adds gates and improves its terminals, passenger volumes are expected to keep pace with a strong demand for air travel worldwide, which, according to aviation experts, will double to 14 billion air travelers in the next decade.