The $8.5 billion O’Hare Modernization Program (OMP) was initiated by the City of Chicago and the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) in 2001 to create an efficient and reliable system of runways to help reduce delays, increase capacity and support current needs of O’Hare International Airport (ORD) while providing future growth opportunities.

At 11,245 feet long and 200 feet wide, Runway 9C-27C is engineered to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Design Group V standards and can accommodate all aircraft flying today, including the A380, Boeing 747-800 and cargo aircraft. As ORD’s second-longest runway and first new runway since 2015, it helps balance flight activity between the north and south airfields and associated effects on neighboring communities.

Construction required careful sequencing to decommission Runways 14L-32R and 14R-32L while also relocating and replacing several airport facilities. The project was successfully coordinated in a way that assured 100% airport operations were maintained at all times during construction. Moreover, 9C-27C paved the way for quadruple simultaneous arrivals. The ability to land aircraft on four runways simultaneously could increase ORD’s hourly arrival capacity by 33%. The new airfield configuration allows the airport to land aircraft on three runways simultaneously during bad weather conditions, reducing bad weather delays by as much as 95% and overall delays by 79%.

Runway 9C-27C is the product of collaboration and dedication to planning and design. It opened on November 5, 2020 with a United Airlines’ Boeing 777 flight to Seattle. The completion of Runway 9C-27C generated more than 2,500 jobs and created an opportunity for many small and diverse-owned businesses.


Location: Chicago, IL

Client: City of Chicago and the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA)

Services: Lead designer