The final relocation of a section of Irving Park Road south of O’Hare International Airport is scheduled for Wednesday, Chicago officials announced on Monday.
The traffic pattern switch, to the south of the existing Irving Park, is being done to accommodate the O’Hare expansion plan’s construction of two new runways.
Runway 10 Center / 28 Center, which required the removal of St. Johannes Cemetery on the western edge of O’Hare in Bensenville as well as realignment of Irving Park, is set to open in October 2013, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation.
Far southern runway 10 Right / 28 Left, which required the demolition of hundreds of properties in Bensenville, is scheduled to begin operations in late 2015, city officials said.
The permanent routing switch of Irving Park will take place at about noon on Wednesday, weather-permitting, and take about 15 minutes to complete, officials said.
Chicago police will temporarily stop traffic at York Road headed toward eastbound Irving Park, and also stop traffic east of Taft Avenue for westbound Irving Park, to allow construction crews to complete the work to redirect traffic to the new road, officials said.
Traffic on Taft Avenue to and from Irving Park will also be stopped at the same time, officials said. The road closure will be timed to coincide with a train crossing just east of York to minimize inconvenience, officials said.
The O’Hare expansion plan seeks to reconfigure the airfield to create six parallel east-west runways and two runways on a northwest-to-southeast diagonal. But United Airlines and American Airlines, which are the two-largest carriers serving O’Hare, have not agreed with the city’s plan to build one runway and extend an existing runway north of the terminal core.
So far, only one new O’Hare runway, on the north end of the airfield, has opened under the O’Hare Modernization Program.
The airlines also oppose city plans to build a new passenger terminal on the west side of O’Hare.
Despite the continuing standoff and no immediate prospects for airport development on the west side of the airport, the Illinois Tollway and the Illinois Department of Transportation on Monday signed off on an environmental impact statement for a proposed Elgin O’Hare West Bypass highway project that would provide western access to O’Hare. But without a new terminal and parking complex, it would be a road to nowhere.
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