O'Hare Airport Modernization Program
O’Hare was opened after World War II, 24 kilometers from Chicago’s Loop at a site called Orchard Place (thus the famed three-letter code ORD, sometimes mistakenly thought to stand for “ordeal”). The site far from the hustle and bustle of downtown, seemingly afforded ample space for expansion and provided a good tradeoff between having a location close enough to the city center to provide easy access to the benefits associated with the airport but far enough away to reduce the negative externalities (e.g. noise impact) of the airport.
The $7 billion O'Hare Modernization Program (OMP) will reconfigure the runways, extend two existing terminals and add a new West Terminal at the country's second busiest airport by 2013 if all goes according to plan. However, the OMP has been fiercely opposed by some local communities, especially to the west where land would be taken for new runways, the new terminal, and approach roads. The new configuration will feature eight runways: six east-west parallel runways and two parallel northeast-southwest crosswind runways. Only three of the runways will intersect.