Chicago sets timetable for O’Hare airport rail link

The Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) will next month select an engineering team to analyse and develop conceptual designs for the O’Hare Express Rail Service between downtown Chicago to O’Hare International Airport.

The city has sought proposals from a pool of pre-qualified vendors, and so far three have been received by the CDA. Each will be evaluated based on a "best value" approach.

News of the timetable was given by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who recently announced a long-awaited expansion of the airport.

According to Emanuel, the system will "strengthen Chicago’s competitiveness, foster economic growth, and improve the city’s overall transportation network".

The airport is currently connected to the city by the Chicago Transit Authority’s L Train and the Metra Suburban Train as well as a bus services.

Emanuel said: "As we modernise O’Hare to make Chicago even more competitive in the 21st-century economy, my goal is to make it not just the busiest but also the best airport in the world. This new express service is an important step toward achieving that goal."

The city will initiate negotiations with relevant stakeholders this year, and a contract bid for final design, construction and financing is due to be awarded in 2017.

There are no cost estimates for the project as yet, however officials plans not to use tax payers’ money on the scheme.

Image: O’Hare International Airport’s transit system (Lex839/Wikimedia Commons)

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