Home » Q&A with O'Hare Modernization Program Executive Director Rosemarie Andolino
She brings to mind the blasts from the jet engines all around Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. Rosemarie Andolino, the executive director of the O’Hare Modernization Program, is a gust of information about the expansion of the airport in Chicago. Ask her for a fact of the project, such as the runway layout, and she has the answer immediately. Walk up to a segment of construction on the far western edge of the airfield and she describes in detail what is going on. Mention a negative of the project and she comes back with multiple positives. Recently, Midwest Construction Editor Craig Barner talked to Andolino about the remaining obstacles to the huge airport expansion and her career.
A great deal of sensitivity is needed for a project like the expansion of O’Hare because many people and municipalities oppose it. For example, according to a recent news report, Bensenville refused to even formally respond to a solicitation from Chicago to acquire some streets. Are you trying to maintain regular contact with people and organizations that are fighting the project to keep open dialogue and how? First of all, there are only two communities left that oppose this program. When Mayor Daley appointed me to this position three years ago, he told me to always provide accurate information to the public, maintain a transparent Website and go meet with elected officials throughout the region and provide them with the facts about the program. And we’ve done just that. We have met with more than 200 locally elected officials and municipal organizations in the past three years to provide them with accurate information about this program and show them how a modernized O’Hare benefits their communities. There has been a lot of misinformation put out by our opposition about this program. So when we provide the real facts about the program, they are impressed. As a result, more than 140 mayors, municipal organizations and county boards have passed resolutions in support of this program. And we continue this outreach even though the program is approved and construction is ongoing.
A joint venture of Skanska, Corman Kokosing Construction Co. and McLean Contracting Co. is moving toward an early 2020 construction start for a $463-million replacement for a 79-year-old bridge across the Potomac River, south of Washington, D.C.