Critics Question Whether O’Hare Expansion Will Be Completed on Time

Critics Question Whether O’Hare Expansion Will Be Completed on Time

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There are new questions about whether a $7 billion expansion of O’Hare will be completed on time and on budget.

Right now, construction crews are working on O’Hare’s first new runway.

Originally, the city of Chicago wanted to build it in phases. The first section was supposed to be done in 2007, and the second in 2008.

Now project managers want to complete the whole airstrip at once, but start construction a year later.

“The program is not delayed,” says the expansion project’s manager, Rosemarie Andalino. “In fact, we are on schedule.”

She says the move won’t cost the city more money either.

But not everyone trusts the city’s judgment.

Attorney Joe Karaganis represents suburbs near O’Hare that are critical of the project.

He says the city can’t guarantee it will find a contractor on time. And that delay may cost money, just like it does in the home industry.

“If you’re in the middle of building a house and you have to interrupt it for a year while you gather more money, the price is going to increase,” he says.

Meanwhile, some partners in the O’Hare expansion program aren’t concerned about the change.

United Airlines is one of them. A United spokesperson says the company’s confident that the entire O’Hare expansion project will be finished by 2013.