Chicago Aviation Partners, a program-management enterprise led by DMJM Aviation, was selected on Jan. 27 to lead the first phase of Chicago’s $6.6-billion O’Hare International Airport expansion. As major design and engineering work kicks off, the city continues to wait for a record of decision from the Federal Aviation Administration.

The Tampa-based design and construction firm will head the project’s Program Management Office, which comprises local design and engineering consultants McClier, CivCon Services, McKissack & McKissack Midwest, Regina Webster & Associates and Synchronous Solutions.


After a Bechtel-led PM team was disqualified in early November for its reticence to meet city disclosure policies, the owner asked for a second round of RFQs due January. Ventures led by DMJM Aviation, URS Corp., Parsons and Bovis Lend Lease were the remaining teams vying for the contract.

Phase-One negotiations now are set to begin and may "take a couple of weeks" to wrap up, says Roderick Drew, O’Hare project spokesman. The PM is expected to collect fees between $5 and $8 million per year over the next five years. The city is using a 100% mix of airport revenue bonds, passenger fees and federal dollars to finance the project.

Total construction calls for a new 2.5- million-sq-ft, intermodal terminal; a new 7,500-ft runway; five runway extensions and several smaller infrastructure projects (ENR 12/15/03 p. 36). The project’s first phase, costing approximately $2.9-billion and due for final completion in 2007, includes building the new runway and performing extension work on two others. It represents the most airfield work in the O'Hare expansion, officials say.

According to the FAA, the project will be a critical step in accommodating future air travel in the Midwest. City officials say the O’Hare plan is expected to relieve weather delays by 95 percent and overall delays by 79 percent. The entire project is tentatively slated to finish in 2013.

FAA’s record of decision, which enables construction to begin, is expected to arrive by the beginning of the fourth quarter.