(CBS) — As construction crews work to build the first western access road to O’Hare International Airport, DuPage County has been letting businesses know 127 square miles of “untapped potential” is available for development on the highway corridor.
Greg Badalov, president of the Choose DuPage economic development commission, said companies will now be able to locate west businesses with easy highway and airport access near I-90, I-294, and I-290.
“When a business is considering moving, expanding, or relocating, a lot of times they will contact a site selector who will do an evaluation of a region, and infrastructure, and transportation,” Badalov said. “Access to a world-class global airport is critical in that evaluation process.”
Badalov said, as road crews begin their work on the western access road, dubbed Route 390, his team has been contacting site selection specialists to help businesses find sites to build hotels, restaurants, logistics hubs, and manufacturing plants.
“There’s 127 square miles. If you literally looked at it from above, you would see a patch of land located within DuPage County that is 127 square miles, that is primed for development, that will now be fed by this infrastructure,” he said.
Officials have said the $3.4 billion Elgin-O’Hare Western Access project will create 65,000 jobs by 2040, as well as 13,000 annual construction jobs until the new roadway is completed in 2025.
Crews have begun building the Elgin-O’Hare access road from the west end, by improving existing roadway there, then building the final miles into the airport. Existing interstates north and south of the Elgin-O’Hare access road also will be linked to the new highway.
Tens of millions of passengers and well more than a million tons of cargo pass through O’Hare each year, but only through eastern access roads off I-90 and I-290. That means any travelers or cargo coming from west of O’Hare must circle around the airport to get in.