April 22, 2024

Mayor Johnson Joins Sen. Durbin, Sen. Duckworth, Rep. Garcia, FAA to Break Ground on $300 Million Terminal 3 Development at O’Hare International Airport

ElevateT3, Financed by $90 Million from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Will Upgrade Security Screening, Baggage Claim, and Gate Hold Space in Terminal 3

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

CHICAGO - Mayor Brandon Johnson joined key federal and airline partners today to break ground on the approximately $300 million ElevateT3 project, a massive investment in the airport’s ageing terminal facilities supported by $90 million in grant funding from President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). 

“Today marks a significant step forward in redefining the travel experience at O'Hare International Airport through the ElevateT3 project,” said Mayor Brandon Johnson. “This transformative initiative not only boosts our infrastructure but also strengthens Chicago's position as a global aviation leader, thanks to substantial support from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.”

“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.”

ElevateT3 is a key pillar of O’Hare 21, Chicago’s vision to transform the country’s best-connected airport into an efficient and accessible international gateway for the 21st century. The construction work that begins today will upgrade customer amenities, improve security screening and airport operations, and expand accessibility for passengers with disabilities at Terminal 3, and includes the following components: 

  • The reconfiguration of two Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints into a single screening area, providing space for modern and more efficient equipment 

  • An expanded passenger corridor between Concourse K and Concourse L, tripling the current corridor’s width. 

  • The expansion of the holdroom space at Gates K1 and L2A, dramatically improving the passenger experience 

  • A reconfigured baggage claim area and other upgrades to the terminal's baggage facilities and systems that provide sortation for departing passenger baggage 

  • The development of approximately 10,000 square feet of new concessions and amenity spaces 

  • Renovated restrooms and a new family restroom 

  • Other renovations of the terminal’s interior and exterior structures and systems, which will improve overall energy efficiency 

Part of the $300 million project will be financed by BIL through two competitive grant awards announced over the past two years — a 2023 grant valued at $50 million and a 2024 grant totaling $40 million. Each amount was the largest single grant awarded to any airport in America through the Airport Terminal Program over the past two years. The balance of the Terminal 3 upgrade will be paid for by previously allocated federal funds and airline rates and charges.

“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 U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL). “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.”

“Keeping O’Hare strong means keeping Chicago strong, but it takes investment and commitment from all levels of government to support it,” U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) said. “That’s why I’m pleased Senator Durbin and I were able to work with the Illinois Congressional Delegation, through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, to help secure $90 million in federal funding for the Terminal 3 Improvement Project. After years of neglecting our nation’s infrastructure, I’m proud every day to see the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law at work rebuilding infrastructure all across our country. But if we’re going to keep O’Hare’s status as one of the best airports in the country – and the world – we can’t let up.”

“Across the country and across Chicagoland, we are seeing the benefits of historic infrastructure investment,” said Congressman Jesús “Chuy” García (D-IL). “I’m proud to have helped secure funds for this project as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. These renovations will improve terminal accessibility, update amenities, expand concessions, and create jobs. I look forward to continued collaboration with state and local partners on projects that rebuild our infrastructure, improve our economy, and strengthen our communities.”

“Chicago is an important hub in our global network and we are thrilled about another investment in the future of O’Hare Airport – especially in Terminal 3, where American and our oneworld alliance partners operate hundreds of daily flights worldwide,” said American Airlines Executive Vice President Nate Gatten. “These improvements will contribute to a more efficient operation and an upgraded travel experience for our customers. We thank the Biden-Harris administration and the FAA for their support of airport modernization, as well Mayor Brandon Johnson and the CDA for their continued partnership.”

Construction work will be performed by COT3 as 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. Upcoming bid opportunities can be found at www.ord21.com/bids.

A key component of the ElevateT3 project is the continued commitment of the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) to employment, education and training opportunities for entrepreneurs and young people from diverse backgrounds. This includes the Bid & Resource Center at O’Hare, which alongside the CDA’s Workforce Development team, partners with local, community-based organizations to provide resources across Chicago’s 77 community areas, hosting career expos, visiting neighborhood events, and establishing unique and emerging partnerships with City Colleges of Chicago and Chicago Public Schools. 

“The improvements we break ground on today are more than just an investment in Terminal 3’s facilities, O’Hare’s passenger experience and Chicago’s critical transportation infrastructure,” CDA Commissioner Jamie L. Rhee said. “ElevateT3 is an investment in Chicago’s communities, and under Mayor Johnson’s leadership, we intend to work with our partners in the construction community to transform developments like this into opportunities to build capacity and ultimately generational wealth among small, diverse business owners across Chicago’s 77 community areas.” 

The project is expected to last for just over three years, with an anticipated completion date of summer 2027. Construction will take a phased approach to allow continuous operations throughout Terminal 3 during construction. Additional components of the O’Hare 21 capital program continue to proceed. Initial work to prepare for future satellite concourses launched in spring 2023. For more information, visit www.ord21.com