$300M Terminal 3 Upgrades at O’Hare International Airport Underway

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Chicago’s O’Hare Intl. Airport has begun work on a $300 million upgrade of the airport’s Terminal 3.

The Terminal 3 project will upgrade customer amenities and facilities, improve security screening and airport operations, and improve accessibility for passengers with disabilities, according to Chicago Department of Aviation.

Terminal 3 upgrade is part of the broader O’Hare 21 capital program. Finished portions of that program have included the expansion of Terminal 5 and a new runway construction. In addition, the airport will also get two new concourses and Terminal 2 will be more than doubled in space and reopened as the O’Hare Global Terminal.

“Today marks a significant step forward in redefining the travel experience at O’Hare International Airport through the terminal 3 upgrades project,” said Mayor Brandon Johnson.

The comprehensive renovations planned for Terminal 3 at O’Hare Airport aim to enhance the passenger experience. The Elevate T3 initiative will enhance customer amenities upgrade security screening processes and improve airport operations. Additionally it will focus on increasing accessibility, for travelers with disabilities as outlined by the Chicago Department of Aviation.

Here’s a detailed glimpse, into what passengers can anticipate;

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Enhanced Security Efficiency:  The components of the terminal 3 upgrades are to include the reconfiguration of two Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints into a single screening area; and an expanded passenger corridor between the terminal’s Concourse K and Concourse L; expansions of boarding gate space; reconfiguration of the baggage claim area; upgrades to the baggage claim system; and approximately 10,000 square feet of new concessions.

Smoother Passenger Flow: A key aspect of the O’Hare Airport Terminal 3 upgrades involves constructing an expanded passenger corridor between Concourse K and Concourse L. This wider corridor will improve passenger flow, particularly during peak travel times. Imagine navigating the terminal with greater ease, eliminating the frustration of congested walkways.

Modernized Baggage Handling System:  No more dreading the baggage claim process! ElevateT3 prioritizes a complete revamp of the baggage facilities and systems. Passengers can expect a modernized baggage handling system, ensuring their luggage arrives efficiently and safely. Additionally, a completely revamped baggage claim area will be built, featuring a more user-friendly layout to expedite the process of collecting luggage.

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Improved Accessibility for All:  O’Hare Terminal 3 upgrades prioritizes inclusivity. The project has been updated to make it easier, for passengers with disabilities to access. This involves improvements like braille signs, doorways for wheelchairs and accessible restrooms all aimed at providing a seamless and comfortable travel experience, for all individuals.

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Completion Date For Terminal 3 Upgrades

Groundbreaking was April 22 and the construction work is expected to last through summer 2027.  Terminal 3 is completed it will offer an convenient environment for all travelers.

“With today’s official groundbreaking, we’re embarking on a journey towards enhancing the efficiency, safety, and accessibility of one of the busiest airports in the world,” said Durbin (D-Illinois) in a statement. “Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this initiative will not only create thousands of jobs, but it will also bolster our economy and invest in the future success of O’Hare, the state, and the region.”

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“Supported by funding from the Biden-Harris Administration’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The Terminal 3 Improvements will include the latest technology, provide enhanced energy efficiencies and reduced emissions,” said FAA Associate Administrator for Airports, Shannetta R. Griffin, P.E. “This project will have a significant impact on the people who travel in and out of Chicago O’Hare and change the lives of those in the Chicago community as a whole.”

The City of Chicago will finance part of the $300M Terminal 3 renovation project through two competitive grant awards from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) announced over the past two years. The city secured a 2023 grant valued at $50 million and a 2024 grant totaling $40 million. Each amount represented the largest single grant any American airport received through the Airport Terminal Program in those respective years. The City of Chicago and the airlines operating at O’Hare will pay for the remaining balance of the Terminal 3 upgrades using previously allocated federal funds and airline rates and charges.

Construction Team

COT3 will carry out the construction work for Terminal 3 renovation as the Construction Manager At-Risk (CMAR). The company is a joint venture of Clark Construction and W.E. O’Neil, and outreach work on available bid packages for the Terminal 3 improvements project began in late 2023.