The Chicago Department of Aviation’s (CDA) ongoing O’Hare Modernization Program (OMP), which is anticipated to be completed in 2021, has already achieved many major milestones, including the recent opening of the $516 million, 7,500-foot-long Runway 10R-28L and the new $41 million, 218-foot-tall south air traffic control tower. Initiated in June 2001, the more than $8 billion OMP is transforming O’Hare’s airfield from an intersecting runway system to a more efficient parallel runway system — increasing the airport’s capacity, reducing delays and meeting the anticipated demand well into the future.
Runway 10R-28L adds another parallel east-west runway for the south airfield in alignment with the predominant wind direction in Chicago. O’Hare’s fourth new east-west runway in the last 10 years, it has significantly increased the arrival/departure rate under visual flight rules (VFR) conditions. The runway enables planes to operate safely at high capacities in all weather conditions. The new south tower is the second new tower at O’Hare to be designed to achieve LEED certification. The commissioning of Runway 10R-28L and the south air traffic control tower marked the completion of all runway/taxiway construction in the south airfield for the OMP.
Designed for Sustainability
O’Hare operated with one control tower until November 2008, when a second tower, the north air traffic control tower, was commissioned. The opening of the new south tower in October gives O’Hare three Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certified towers.
The newest towers were constructed with sustainability in mind from design through construction. The north tower was the first certified LEED® Silver air traffic control tower in the U.S.; LEED Gold certification is being pursued for the south tower.
Innovations not previously seen in air traffic control towers were incorporated into both towers. They each have green roofs on the base buildings and include sustainable components, such as high-efficiency systems and use of recyclable, local and low-emitting materials. Additionally, the south tower operates with a geothermal system of heating and cooling, LED lighting wherever possible, and a high-performance curtain wall designed to maximize the use of daylight.
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