After decades of litigation, heavy machinery rolled into Bensenville to start demolishing more than 500 buildings standing in the way of O’Hare expansion.
Standing on the centerline of what will eventually be O'Hare International's runway 10C-28C, Aviation Commissioner Rosemarie Andolino called the progress a "major milestone," and said the removal of the buildings in the land acquisition area will clear the way for completion of the $15 billion project.
"[The buildings] were important basically years ago, so they are critically important today," Andolino said.
“We are now looking forward to the economic benefits that are out there,” Soto said, “if we just not try to ignore what's here.”
Already, the city has put some of the buildings in what it calls the Southwest Land Acquisition Area to work. Last week, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms set fire to a number of the vacant townhomes as part of a training exercise for fire investigators.
The demolition, which is scheduled for completion sometime in September, will be done under the supervision of an inspector hired by Bensenville to minimize any impact on the community’s quality of life.
There are still hurdles to the project’s completion including a court battle over a religious cemetery in the path of one of the new runways, and new terminals the airlines say they
Still, Andolino said she is confident the project, which will employ more than a thousand people this summer alone, will be completed on schedule.
"We are still continuing to work with our airline partners," she said. "We are confident we will reach an agreement and move forward with construction."