OHare International Airport Modernization Program OMP

WSP USA serves as construction manager for the City of Chicago’s $8 billion O’Hare Modernization Program, which is reconfiguring the airfield into a 21st Century layout with six parallel runways, allowing more simultaneous landings and takeoffs. 


  • Chicago, Illinois, USA


  • City of Chicago Department of Aviation

Project Status

  • Ongoing


  • American Council of Engineering Companies of Illinois, 2014 Honor Award
  • 2016 Project of the Year, Construction Management Association of America
  • Hispanic American Construction Industry Association, 2015 Project of the Year Award

Efficient Runways

For more than a decade, WSP has served as construction manager to the City of Chicago Department of Aviation for the OMP, a program that, to date, has successfully completed the construction of four new runway components and two air traffic control towers.

 WSP was the construction manager for three new runways at O’Hare:

Runway 9L-27R, completed in November 2008;
Runway 10C-28C, completed in October 2013; and
Runway 10R-28L, completed in October 2015.

 We also worked on a 3,000-foot extension of O’Hare’s most active runway, Runway 10L-28R, which was completed in September 2008.

 The OMP transformed O’Hare from an intersecting system of runways to a more efficient system of parallel runways, thus increasing the airport’s capacity, reducing delays and meeting the anticipated demand well into the future.

 This project included many different types of construction, including 3.5 million cubic yards of earthwork, a 218-foot air traffic control tower, runway/taxiway paving, Federal Aviation Administration navigational devices, security fencing and sally port gates.

Key Numbers

New Air Traffic Control Towers
New Runways
I remember looking at O’Hare back in June 2005 when we first started, thinking that it was already a huge airport. But now to see how the program transformed O’Hare, and how much the airport has grown with three new runways, is simply amazing.
Thomas Lyon Project Manager, WSP

Towers Designed for Sustainability

 O’Hare operated with one control tower until November 2008, when the North Airport Traffic Control Tower was commissioned. The opening of the 218-foot South Airport Traffic Control Tower (SATCT) in 2015 gives O’Hare three Federal Aviation Administration-certified towers.

 The North Tower was the first-ever certified LEED Silver air traffic control tower, while the South Tower was built to achieve LEED Gold standards. The control towers include green roofs on the base buildings. Additionally, both towers included sustainable items such as high-efficiency components, recyclable materials, local materials and low-emitting materials. The South Tower incorporated a geothermal system of heating and cooling. Ninety-nine percent of the material used in construction stayed on site instead of being hauled away, and was reused wherever possible.