June 29, 2020


Chicagos Midway International Airport has been experiencing an increase in international flight arrivals for a number of years. The impact is evidenced by increased passenger and bag volumes within the US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) area. The original CBP included one bag claim unit, which did not easily accommodate two simultaneous international arrival operations. The City of Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) engaged Epstein to develop a design to add a second bag claim device and reconfigure the CBP area for better efficiency.

The original CBP area was developed and placed into operations in 2002. Encompassing approximately 23,000 square feet, the original configuration included separate spaces for the various governmental entities associated with processing arriving international passengers through the United States border control facility. This separation is no longer required. Epstein worked closely with the CBP and CDA to reconfigure the entire area to meet current federal requirements and free up space for the second bag claim device.

In order to accommodate the new bag claim device, many of CBP's functions were demolished and/or relocated to reconfigured space within the footprint of the CBP area. The scope of the renovation includes:

  • Relocation of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Break Room and Training facilities from the Lower Level of Concourse A to a vacant space located on the mezzanine level of Concourse C.
  • Relocation of the Bag Re-check facility to the vacated TSA Break Room.
  • Consolidation and relocation of CBP passenger processing areas and administrative offices.
  • Creation of conveyor right of way (ROW) and operational access to conveyor components in support of the installation of a new sloped plate baggage claim device.
  • Relocation of building support systems including but not limited to electrical power and lighting, fire protection, mechanical HVAC and plumbing systems, low voltage systems including but not limited to access control, perimeter intrusion detection, telecommunications, LAN, public address and CCTV systems.
  • Significant coordination with the CDA, CBP, and TSA.

The design of the bag claim device and associated conveyors for the project was performed by Jervis B. Webb Company under a separate DesignBuild contract with the Midway Airlines Terminal Consortium (MATCO). Epstein provided detailed coordination during the design process to establish placement and alignment of the new bag claim devices and conveyors, and coordinate the electrical power, lighting and fire protection requirements.

As an essential function at Midway airport, the CBP area was required to remain operational during the renovation. Because of this requirement, Epstein balanced the functional needs of the CBP with the phasing needs of maintaining operations, resulting in a logical multi-phase approach to construction. The construction generally progressed in a north to south function, beginning at the exit from the CBP area, and completing where the passengers first disembark the aircraft.

As a result of these improvements, Midway is now able to provide the necessary services for all of their assorted international operations.