Aviation Official Ginger Evans on $8.5 Billion O’Hare Expansion Plan

O’Hare International Airport has been steadily expanding for the better part of the last two decades. But soon more construction equipment will begin the biggest build-out in the airport’s history.

After the Chicago City Council approved funding for the $8.5 billion project Wednesday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, city aviation officials and the four biggest airlines at O’Hare signed an agreement to launch the project. More gates, terminal revitalization, an underground people mover and perhaps most significantly a long-planned western access are all part of the plan.

Emanuel, who says the project will create some 60,000 jobs, called the passage of the plan “a watershed moment” that will “secure and strengthen” the city’s economy for decades to come.

As part of the eight-year project, Terminal 2 would be razed to make way for a new global terminal that will have wider concourses and gates that can handle the larger aircraft used on international flights.

Space inside the terminals will increase by some 70 percent as more shops and restaurants are added and the total number of gates will rise from 185 to roughly 220 when the project is complete.

Chicago Aviation Department Commissioner Ginger Evans joins Eddie Arruza to discuss the project.

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