Seven renovated pedestrian tunnels reopened beneath the Lower Level roadway connecting Terminals 1, 2 and 3 in June 2022. The tunnels are a key gateway in and out of the Main Terminals of O’Hare, connecting travelers to the Main Parking Garage and the CTA Blue Line station for easy, affordable access to the city.
The CDA’s design and construction contractors performed remediation work for water infiltration that affected the original cast-in-place, reinforced concrete tunnels, which dated to the 1970s. During periods of heavy rain, groundwater would leak into the tunnels, requiring frequent maintenance over the past decade to repair damage to interior architectural features.
Crews used 3D laser scans of the tunnels to facilitate the repairs, which were conducted in conjunction with interior renovation work.
The vibrant new designs, inspired by Chicago’s vibrant history and commitment to sustainability, feature wood finishes and asymmetrical curved metal wall and ceiling panels. Each tunnel features its own distinct floor finish pattern, allowing for a world-class welcome for visitors.
Large LED screens break up the linearity of the tunnels. The screens display vibrant scenes of the city, important travel information, and can be used to broadcast emergency notices if needed.