New O’Hare plan will reduce jet noise

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CHICAGO -- The department of Aviation says it has a plan to cut the noise from a growing number of flights in and out of O’Hare.

Officials met with residents Friday, who liked a lot of what they heard-- but not all of it.

Imagine if you went from never hearing planes to having wear earplugs when you barbeque. Well, that’s the story for a lot of these folks-- and they say it continues to get worse.

The Department of Aviation hopes rotating runways will help spread out the noise.

For tens of thousands of people, 15 miles east and 20 miles west of O’Hare, it’s the soundtrack of their lives. They say they’re barraged with noise from five in the morning until 11 at night.

On Friday, they got to meet with aviation officials and the FAA to discuss what to do about it.

State Rep. Robert Martwick (D) Chicago: “In the legislature, what we did was we used our leverage to create these provide a seat at the table.”

Colleen Mulcrone, Fair: “It’s very clear that there was a lot of thought put into the recommendations that were there today. We absolutely disagree on their decision about the diagonal runways.”

One of those diagonal runways will be shut down next month, the other in 2019. The Department of Aviation says it has to happen for safety reasons and to comply with the FAA but the aviation commissioner also says she’s determined to find a solution.

“We know that airport noise is a challenge for many residents, but we are confident that we can move forward with concrete steps to ensure a higher quality of life for O’Hare’s neighbors, while maximizing the safety and efficiency of the world’s busiest airport.”

--Aviation Commissioner Ginger S. Evans

The plan would rotate nighttime runway use to let O’Hare’s neighbors get some sleep. Residents say it’s not a complete solution but it’s a start.”

Jac Charlier, Fair: “This has never happened before, oddly enough that citizens have been able to sit down with the Chicago Department of Aviation O’Hare and be across the table, face to face. It’s a big deal.”

The group, Fair, which stands for Fair Allocation in Runways, wants a lot more of that dialogue.

Meantime, the city’s looking into some other solutions, like whether government money can be used augment the soundproofing on a couple of hundred houses closest to the airport, where homeowners say the decibel level’s becoming unbearable.


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