Open house meetings begin on O’Hare noise, pollution

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NILES, Ill. -- Jet noise and air pollution are at the center of FAA-sponsored public input meetings this week.

The government agency is conducting the meetings to hear from the public about a draft report that re-evaluates the environmental impact statement that the FAA approved in 2005, the gist of which is the city's plan to reconfigure O'Hare with six parallel East-West runways and two diagonal runways.

The plan eliminates two existing diagonal runways, which anti-noise groups contend should be kept to help spread out jet noise.

Keeping all four diagonals is not an option, because doing so would hamper the efficiency of the new parallel runway layout, cause safety concerns because aircraft could potentially be converging from different directions and cost too much to maintain extra miles of concrete and navigational equipment.

The FAA has said the presentations that it and the city will make to the public at the four meetings will be a re-evaluation of environmental issues because the next two runways set to open — on the far south airfield near Bensenville in October and another runway in 2020 north of the passenger terminals — are not being built in the order originally planned and approved.

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1 Comment

  • Jerry L.

    I am a resident of Edison Park. The open house meeting in Niles was nothing more than a one way conversation. Sadly because people form other communities were there as well. Desperation pitted effected residence against each other. When it came my turn to ask. One FAA spokesperson offered nothing more than an opportunity to apply for sound proofing. That does not address the problem I answered. Everyone voiced their agreement. The FAA spokesman quickly ignored that point and went on to blame things like pilot’s runway preference for excessive noise in effected areas. The fact is no one asked for a flight pattern change, and no one wants it to continue. Restore the diagonal pattern or face the inevitable. A flight from what were once wonderful communities, and the economic failure, and loss of tax revenue for the city as a whole.