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O’Hare receives $60M grant for runway projects

OHare construction

O'Hare runway construction work in 2016. | Tim Boyle/For the Sun-Times

O’Hare International Airport will receive $60 million in federal grant money, part of which is going toward a new runway, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced Wednesday.

The first grant of $40 million will kick off the construction phase of Runway 9C/27C, which includes siting utilities, grading, and pavement work, the statement from the DOT said.

The $648.5 million runway — O’Hare’s second largest at 11,245 feet long and 200 feet wide — is expected to open in 2020. Construction will be completed in three phases, beginning with the easternmost section, followed by the center and western chunks, the Chicago Sun-Times previously reported.

The second grant of $20 million will reimburse the airport for projects associated with the construction of Runway 10C/28C, which was completed in October 2013, the statement said. The projects included taxiway systems, navigational aids, site utilities, and existing facility relocations.

“As one of the busiest airports in the world, O’Hare International Airport plays not only a critical role in Chicago, but its performance and connectivity benefits our nation’s aviation system as a whole. I want to thank Secretary Chao, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the FAA for their continued support of O’Hare’s modernization program that has resulted in major improvements to efficiency and a significant reduction in travel delays, directly benefiting our nearly 80 million passengers each year,” Chicago Aviation Commissioner Ginger S. Evans said in a statement.

“Making these and other investments in O’Hare reflects Mayor Emanuel’s commitment to strengthening one of the city’s biggest economic drivers and sustaining Chicago’sprominent role as a top global destination,” Evans said.

O’Hare is one of 584 airports across the country being awarded part of $527.8 million in airport infrastructure grants as part of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Improvement Program. The grants are expected to be issued “over the next several weeks” for construction season.

“The Airport Improvement Program helps to maintain our aviation infrastructure and supports safety, capacity, security and environmental improvements,” DOT Secretary Elaine L. Chao said in the statement.