No more drab tunnel vision: O'Hare reveals updated pedestrian corridors

  • Chicago is celebrating the remodeling of seven pedestrian tunnels at O'Hare International Airport. An unimproved tunnel at Terminal 1 is on the left, the updated version is on the right.

    Chicago is celebrating the remodeling of seven pedestrian tunnels at O'Hare International Airport. An unimproved tunnel at Terminal 1 is on the left, the updated version is on the right. Courtesy of Chicago Department of Aviation

 
 
Updated 6/27/2022 6:54 PM

The dingy pedestrian tunnels greeting travelers to Chicago arriving at O'Hare International Airport are officially grounded.

City officials on Monday celebrated the completion of a redo of seven tunnels at terminals 1, 2 and 3.

 

"These new tunnels provide a more vibrant and inviting welcome to Chicago for travelers connecting between the Terminals and the CTA Blue Line station, O'Hare's Elevated Parking Structure, or the Hilton Chicago O'Hare Airport Hotel," Chicago Department of Aviation Commissioner Jamie Rhee said in a statement.

"The work involved crucial infrastructural repairs while updating the tunnels with a beautiful, modern design and energy-efficient lighting improvements."

The original concrete tunnels were built in the 1970s. During heavy rains, groundwater eventually leaked into the structures.

Expansive LED screens provide curves amid the rectangular corridors that display scenes of the city, travel information and important updates.

As work began on the tunnels, there were alternating closures. Three reopened in November 2021, and the remaining four finished before what's expected to be a busy July 4 holiday period at O'Hare.

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