Chicago O’Hare International Airport officials said last week an appellate court ruling that halted the demolition of some suburban properties will negatively affect the cost and timing of an $8 billion expansion project.
An Illinois Court of Appeals last week overturned a district court judge’s ruling that had cleared the way for leveling about 500 homes in Bensenville. Village President John Geils hailed the latest ruling.
DuPage County Judge Kenneth Popejoy in 2007 imposed an injunction to allow for an environmental study on the public health hazards Bensenville officials had argued would result if demolition were permitted. The study failed to show sufficient hazards existed and Popejoy lifted the injunction last August. The village believed a more detailed assessment was needed and appealed the ruling.
The injunction has stalled the city’s efforts to demolish the homes to make way for one in a series of new runways being built as part of the O’Hare Modernization Program. “This decision negatively impacts our schedule and overall cost of the program and delays the benefits of a modernized O’Hare,” OMP executive director Rosemarie Andolino said in a statement.
The appellate decision sends the matter back to Popejoy. Chicago officials said they believe the issues raised by the appellate court can be resolved. The court also upheld the dismissal of four complaints filed by the suburban opponents against the city.
Officials last fall opened the first new runway being built as part of the $3.3 billion first phase of the program. Negotiations continue between the city and the airport’s struggling air carriers over approval for the second phase.