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nomarandlee Apr 24, 2008 3:29 PM

Quote:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/travel...1,663642.story

TRIBUNE EXCLUSIVE

O'Hare Airport expansion deadline moved to 2014 to beat Olympic rush

By Jon Hilkevitch | Tribune reporter
April 24, 2008

Chicago says it is aggressively working to complete the expansion of delay-plagued O'Hare International Airport in 2014—two years before the city hopes to be hosting the Olympic Games.

The new fast-track timetable represents a formidable challenge. A massive reconfiguration of O'Hare's crisscrossing runways would need to be completed in only six years, all while the airport kept operating during construction.

The city previously said that the end date for the project was undetermined.

..........Among other challenges facing the city would be to build by 2014 a western satellite terminal that is needed for additional aircraft gates and passenger space to handle the projected increase in flights. But so far, no airline has agreed to help pay for the terminal or for some of the new runways.

Extending the People Mover rail system is also critical to transporting passengers from one end to the other of the expanded airport, yet the city has not locked in its funding, either.

Experts called the 2014 deadline an extreme long shot but would not rule out the possibility.............
..

VivaLFuego Apr 24, 2008 4:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by intrepidDesign (Post 3489492)
So the new express lines that are running from O'Hare to B37, they are using the existing blue lines? Are they adding any? Is that why northbound on the Kennedy is down to one lane every night? What about Midway, are they building express lines there as well? This seems like a pretty important project, but there seems to be little information about it.

1. Lane closures on the Kennedy are for tie-replacement on the existing tracks to a. remove slow zones and b. upgrade the speed limit to 70mph

2. There are no construction plans currently for any bypass express tracks. There are several concepts for how and where to locate them but nothing is anywhere near being funded, since even the cheapest option is well over $500 million.

the urban politician Apr 27, 2008 11:29 PM

Will OHare expansion be necessary?
 
I'd like to ask a broader question:

Given the global crisis with airlines, escalating fuel prices in the setting of limited fuel reserves, and rising costs of air travel, is the OHare expansion really going to be a good long term investment?

I know for now there are projected increases in air travel over the next 20 years, but did those studies even take into account the lack of available energy sources to fuel such increases? Did anybody (other than a few peak oil "elitists") really consider the impact of this real global problem?

Getting back to the OHare expansion project, I'm seriously wondering if OHare is at or near its peak traffic loads, and that we will begin to see a long, slow decline as we did with passenger train travel 50 years ago.

Perhaps $15 billion (or whatever the new price tag is) is far better spent on expanding & upgrading the area's rail system..

the urban politician Apr 28, 2008 12:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 3514535)
I'd like to ask a broader question:

Given the global crisis with airlines, escalating fuel prices in the setting of limited fuel reserves, and rising costs of air travel, is the OHare expansion really going to be a good long term investment?

I know for now there are projected increases in air travel over the next 20 years, but did those studies even take into account the lack of available energy sources to fuel such increases? Did anybody (other than a few peak oil "elitists") really consider the impact of this real global problem?

Getting back to the OHare expansion project, I'm seriously wondering if OHare is at or near its peak traffic loads, and that we will begin to see a long, slow decline as we did with passenger train travel 50 years ago.

Perhaps $15 billion (or whatever the new price tag is) is far better spent on expanding & upgrading the area's rail system..

^ Hate to quote myself, but case in point:

Traffic slows at O'Hare
By: Paul Merrion and John Pletz April 27, 2008
Traffic is declining at O'Hare International Airport just as the city of Chicago presses cash-strapped airlines to fund the second phase of the airport's expansion.

VivaLFuego Apr 28, 2008 1:39 AM

^imho about 75% of the expansion project is needed regardless, even if growth in air travel slows down (long term, I don't think it will, but the next few years could certainly be a hiccup). O'hare's old runway configuration is very inefficient and is a major factor in how delayed the airport is. Even if traffic stagnates, it would still be worth major investment, for the national air system to add new parallel runways and extend others to make overall operations more efficient and reliable.

Less concerned about a western terminal or western access road, which are major cost components.

nomarandlee Apr 28, 2008 3:38 AM

I agree Viva, and though I know we would like rail to get its due (especially TUP) I don't see rail ever seriously supplanting air travel in the future for anything over a few hundred miles. Unless we start building mag-lev's or super high trains interconnecting all over this country I don't see it happening (and think many would still prefer air travel). It simply is not as efficant as airplanes for long range travel for many people.

I could foresee airlines in the future though changing tactics to deal with any long term fuel surges. I could foresee larger planes with less frequency on lighter planes to make cost more efficient. These airlines will make adjustments to deal such factors and they will still thrive because there is sipmly the demand and air travel best meets that demand.

Rail Claimore Apr 28, 2008 3:45 AM

The runway reconfiguration and world gateway program (rennovating the existing terminals) are the key components of O'Hare modernization. The Western Terminal phase along with associated transportation infrastructure is something that can be built in the future to respond to demand as needed.

Keep in mind that the current minor decrease in air traffic is to be expected, not just due to rising operational costs for airlines, but because so much of O'Hare is a construction zone. United and American are rerouting flights to other hubs thanks to the flight caps and to speed their operations anyway. I'd expect to see the numbers pick back up next year, the first full year the new north runway will see operations. A similar thing happened with Atlanta last year, as they saw a record number of operations as a result of decreased congestion thanks to their fifth runway.

Chicago2020 Apr 28, 2008 4:59 AM

The expansion is needed for the long term

jpIllInoIs May 10, 2008 6:19 PM

Well this thread has been quiet for awhile. Might be a good time to ask...
What is the time frame-if any- for extending the people mover to the parking lots across Rt.45/Mannhiem Rd, closer to the Metra/O'Hare stop?

Mr Man May 12, 2008 3:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3489417)
Yeah, my first choice is always Southwest if they fly to my chosen destination, Midway is a much more pleasant experience overall than O'hare. But there's nothing the least bit awe-inspiring, or even particularly architecturally interesting, about the terminal and concourses. Almost all buildings of O'hare have some aesthetic/architectural merit; though much of the tasty SOM-60s-modernism of Terminals 2 and 3 is now gone, the replacements are pretty appealing overall. Given O'hare is the "flagship", or primary world gateway to Chicago, it makes sense to give it a little more oomph in the wow department. Midway is a Low Cost Airport for Low Cost Carriers.

To me there is nothing awe-inspiring about O'Hare with a few exceptions such as the Hilton hotel, the old air-traffic control tower, and the underground walkway to concourse C. It's so poorly designed, everything from the terminals to the runways. It is the flagship and primary gateway to the world which is why the O'Hare Modernization Program is so vital to Chicagoland. However right now it's a joke.

The last few seconds of this video clip describe O'Hare perfectly. Go ahead, what it.

http://www.youtube.com/v/j5OXNosrU34


I always had a fascination with Midway on the other hand. It's so compact and indeed pleasant. Maybe I just don't have architectural taste, but I love the new Midway terminal building.

I love landing at Midway. It's looks like you're getting ready to land on an charming inner-city street.

nomarandlee May 13, 2008 5:31 AM

Quote:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...,2204456.story

U.S. Supreme Court will not hear church's appeal on O'Hare cemetery plans
Pending court cases, though, mean airport expansion plans in limbo
By Jon Hilkevitch | Tribune reporter
10:41 PM CDT, May 12, 2008

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear an appeal filed by a church attempting to save a cemetery in the path of planned runways at O'Hare International Airport.

Chicago officials said they will start contacting relatives of the deceased before any graves are moved.

But attorneys for St. John's United Church of Christ disagreed with the city's contention that the high court ruling ended federal litigation over the city's ability to acquire St. Johannes Cemetery, which borders O'Hare.

.......Despite Chicago officials vowing to move forward with plans to eventually take title to the cemetery, relocate the graves and demolish homes in Bensenville, the city remains barred from doing so pending the outcome of all the litigation, both sides agreed......
..

the urban politician May 13, 2008 1:36 PM

^ When the NIMBY suburbs inevitably lose this drawn-out battle, they will finally realize what total morons they were.

Then spent huge sums of money on litigation for NOTHING. They still lose their homes, they still lose their cemetary, they still have to move....all at a higher financial cost than if they had just gone along with OHare's expansion to begin with.

Brilliant

jpIllInoIs May 14, 2008 1:38 PM

^ There are only 2 nimby suburbs; Elk Grove Village and Bensenville. All other surrounding suburbs back the expansion. If the voters in Elk Grove Village were made aware of the money that Mayor Johnson has wasted on the futile effort to block O'Hare they might throw him out of office. Johnson should be more concerned with keeping EGV competitive in the "supply chain-warehousing" industries. Many businesses are leaving for lower costs and newer facilities in Carol Stream and Bolingbrook. In the long term I don't see how he is acting in the best interest of his village, when he is trying to neutralize the biggest economic engine in the region, that is O'Hare.

nomarandlee Jun 17, 2008 1:42 AM

Quote:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/travel...,6048116.story

O'Hare hourly flight caps to be lifted in October, FAA says

By Jon Hilkevitch | Tribune reporter
12:24 PM CDT, June 16, 2008


The Federal Aviation Administration announced Monday that it will lift the hourly restrictions on arrivals at O'Hare International Airport at the end of October as scheduled.

The lifting of the flight caps had been in doubt because of serious flight delays at O'Hare.

But the downturn in the airline industry—a double-digit reduction in flights—clearly made the FAA decision on lifting the flight caps easier.

The lifting of the caps at O'Hare will allow four to five additional arrivals each hour, or about 70 a day, FAA acting Administrator Bobby Sturgell said at a news conference................
..

Marcu Jun 17, 2008 4:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jpIllInoIs (Post 3551726)
^ There are only 2 nimby suburbs; Elk Grove Village and Bensenville. All other surrounding suburbs back the expansion. If the voters in Elk Grove Village were made aware of the money that Mayor Johnson has wasted on the futile effort to block O'Hare they might throw him out of office. Johnson should be more concerned with keeping EGV competitive in the "supply chain-warehousing" industries. Many businesses are leaving for lower costs and newer facilities in Carol Stream and Bolingbrook. In the long term I don't see how he is acting in the best interest of his village, when he is trying to neutralize the biggest economic engine in the region, that is O'Hare.

He is, however, doing a great service to the legal industry. Most of its beneficiaries live outside Elk Grove Village and disproportionately in Chicago proper.

Hot Rod Jun 17, 2008 5:48 AM

great news on the lifting of flight caps

hopefully with the completion(s) of the runways, we can get rid of all of the slots and caps and Chicago can once again blossom!

ardecila Jun 18, 2008 5:06 PM

While I'm all for Chicago having an efficient, premier airport, is the MASSIVE expenditure on expansion really worth it?

With air travel's future looking bleak, there may be little need for additional capacity beyond the substantial capacity that O'Hare already offers.

Plus, much of the O'Hare expansion is being financed through ticket taxes and through contributions from the airlines. With declining traffic, the number of tickets sold will decline and the airlines won't be very generous - they can't afford to be. In the current state that the air travel industry is in right now, can Chicago afford to complete the expansion plans?

VivaLFuego Jun 18, 2008 5:54 PM

To complete them? Probably not.

The runway reconfiguration is worth doing to reduce delays and increase the thoroughput of takeoffs/departures, particularly in inclement weather. The current configuration of three crisscrossing pairs of parallel runways gives great crosswind flexibility but not much else because of how many conflicting movements there are.

You're right that the new terminals are probably not high priorities, but I think the runways certainly are, and those are probably over half the project cost anyway.

ardecila Jun 20, 2008 5:52 PM

I think that was the intent all along. The City wowed everybody with promises of a western access road, a circumferential road, new rail access, shiny new terminals, etc. But the core of the plan is the airfield reconfiguration. The new terminals and ground transportation has always been used as a sort of carrot-on-a-stick, but I seriously doubt the city will pursue those once the runway improvements are done... you can definitely see this, if you read between the lines on the website.

But that still doesn't change the fact that much of the OMP is funded by airlines that have no cash to spare. Will those airlines, and the city, simply settle for the smaller benefits that Phase I will provide (9L-27R, 10L-28R extension, 10C-28C), without continuing on to Phase II?

VivaLFuego Jun 20, 2008 7:44 PM

Phase II would be partially funded out of ticket taxes/facility charges and FAA grants, so I'd expect partial progress on Phase II, with emphasis on airfield work rather than terminals or access roads.

If the west suburbs really want those ring and access roads, then let them deal with IDOT or the tollway, don't let OMP get distracted by it.

Given the current air travel market, there may not be demand for the additional terminals and gates for a while, but it doesn't hurt to plan and lay groundwork for the eventual need.


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