May 10, 2022
We’ve officially entered the Top 10 portion of our Centennial Year Celebration of our 100 greatest projects. Coming in at #10 is Midway Airport New Passenger Terminal, a project led by Epstein that delivered a new $448 million facility which replaced the existing terminal built in 1947.
Chicago’s Midway Airport has always played an important position in the domestic air transportation network, and the City of Chicago in the mid-90’s made a commitment to significantly upgrade the existing facilities. A pledge that meant the Epstein, leading a group called Midway Terminal Design Associates, a consortium of six firms, each with extensive airport terminal design experience, was hired to transform Midway. Epstein's responsibilities for this effort included project management and administration, terminal structural engineering, and preparation of architectural and structural construction documents.
The new terminal was sized for aircraft from commuter planes to 757's. The design reflects the character and style of the Midway Airport tenants, where success is based on low fares and economical operations, combined with a very positive image and a sense of "class". An important consideration is that the terminal be easy for the passenger to understand and use. The terminal was further designed to blend with surrounding neighborhood homes and businesses.
One of the primary features of the New Midway Terminal is the pedestrian bridge that unites the new terminal and concourse buildings across Cicero Avenue. This 270-foot-long, 60-foot-wide, glass and steel structure spanning Cicero Avenue will be used by all and contains a moving walkway to accommodate these passengers. It was designed to reiterate the terminal and concourse architectural design of abundant natural light and high, exposed structural steel. The design allows for City of Chicago sponsored promotional installations, temporary art displays and plantings.
Epstein worked on the terminal and related projects for over eight years - The Program started in November 1998 and was completed in May 2004. The projects completed during this time frame included the terminal, a new parking structure, underground stormwater retention, toll plaza, and entrances and exits, all of which were coordinated to minimize the impact of the airport's day-to-day operations. Because of Epstein's phasing plan, Midway Airport remained fully operational through all phases of construction. The new terminal portion of the project opened in the fall of 2001 to critical acclaim.