Illinois State Senate passes bills designed to reduce O’Hare jet noise
In late 2013 the flight paths at Chicago O’Hare airport were changed, and since then thousands of residents have been exposed to far more aircraft noise. The authorities are trying to find ways to reduce their noise exposure. The Illinois Senate has now unanimously approved legislation to mitigate jet noise by increasing the cap on the number of runways to 10 from 8, and prohibiting the city of Chicago from closing and demolishing any of the airport’s 4 diagonal runways. The aim is to distribute the noise more evenly. The two bills are aimed at expanding O’Hare flight paths are going next to the Illinois House of Representatives for consideration. If one of the diagonal runways is closed, its flights will be distributed to the other runways, causing more noise for some people. Keeping 10 runways operational at O’Hare would increase maintenance costs. And while all 10 runways would never be used simultaneously, the more complex airfield layout could create safety risks involving more planes taxiing across runways on their way to the gate or other runways. Noise complaints filed online and to a city-operated hot line totalled 39,500 in January, setting a new monthly record. In 2014, for the whole year, noise complaints totalled 268,211, also an all-time high.
State Senate passes bills designed to reduce O’Hare jet noise
The Suburban O’Hare Commission has hired two consulting firms to help explore solutions to reduce noise in neighborhoods near the airport.
By Jon Hilkevitch (Chicago Tribune)
The Illinois Senate unanimously approved legislation Thursday designed to mitigate jet noise around O’Hare International Airport by increasing the cap on the number of runways to 10 from eight, and prohibiting the city of Chicago from closing and demolishing any of the airport’s four diagonal runways.
O’Hare group says 2 public meetings on new runways not enough
Two bills introduced by state Sen. John Mulroe are aimed at expanding O’Hare flight paths to reduce jet noise that has been saturating some Chicago neighborhoods and western suburbs since late 2013, when O’Hare air-traffic patterns changed. The two bills are headed to the House for consideration.
If the legislation is passed by the General Assembly and signed into law by the governor, it’s still unclear whether Chicago officials would call off the scheduled closure of one diagonal runway in four months and work with the Federal Aviation Administration to disperse the more than 2,400 daily flights at O’Hare across a wider number of runways pointing in a variety of directions.
“I am responding to the community’s cry for help,” Mulroe, a Chicago Democrat whose district is immediately east of O’Hare, said in a phone interview.
Checking in on progress on revamp of O’Hare’s Runways
“Chicago has been pointing fingers at the FAA, and the FAA has been pointing fingers at Chicago. The airport and the airlines have to be good neighbors. You cannot discount that people are being affected. I want the diagonal runways to be an option,” Mulroe said, noting the diminished use of the diagonal runways.
Chicago aviation officials did not immediately respond to questions from the Tribune about the legislation.
FAA spokesman Tony Molinaro said the agency does not comment on pending legislation.
The SOC commission (Suburban O’Hare Commission) did their Job and told the real truth about the Noise pollution and the smell of jet fuel all hours of the day and night. We live in Elk Grove Village, this Elgin/O’Hare project has made our Property Taxes soar just to pay for the short fall of $75M that the tolls were…
Keeping 10 runways operational at O’Hare would increase maintenance costs. And while all 10 runways would never be used simultaneously, the more complex airfield layout could create safety risks involving more planes taxiing across runways on their way to the gate or other runways. Taxiing planes across runways is a practice that air traffic controllers avoid whenever possible.
In addition, Chicago has plans to eventually build a new passenger terminal on the west side of the airport, close to one of the diagonal runways.
Senate Bill 637 states: “All runways shall be maintained and used in a safe and equitable manner for the purpose of fairly distributing air traffic over city and suburban communities” surrounding O’Hare.
Companion legislation, S.B. 636, would increase the number of allowable runways. Chicago aviation officials have said previously that they could not keep all the diagonal runways because of the cap.
The O’Hare Modernization Program, which began in 2005 and has not been completed, envisions six east-west parallel runways and two diagonal runways. Currently there are four parallels and four diagonals.
The Chicago Department of Aviation has said that one of the four diagonal runways, running northwest to southeast, will be permanently closed Aug. 20, followed by the closure of a second diagonal runway with the same alignment in November 2020.
The city plans to open the next new east-west runway Oct. 15, followed by another new parallel runway in November 2020. Under the O’Hare expansion plan, the six parallel runways will be used to handle more than 95 percent of takeoffs and landings, while two existing northeast-to-southwest runways would be retained for use mostly when strong crosswinds limit the use of the east-west parallels, officials said.
Noise complaints filed online and to a city-operated hot line totaled 39,500 in January, setting a new monthly record. In 2014, noise complaints totaled 268,211, also an all-time high.
Checking in on progress on revamp of O’Hare’s Runways
Work continues toward revamping the positioning of runways with a decommissioning set for August and a new runway to open in October. These changes are meant to create new departure and arrival patterns.
O’Hare International Airport runways
- To be removed
- In progress
Chicago O’Hare airport new runway & flightpaths creating huge opposition by those now over-flown
Chicago O’Hare airport currently has many runways but not all can be used simultaneously. The airport has been building more, reducing the lengths of others, to get three parallel runways can be used together. There has been a lot of controversy about the plans over many years, with compulsory purchase of land, from residents who did not want to move. There is now huge protest against the noise. A group representing city and suburban home-owners, the Fair Allocation in Runways Coalition (FAiR), is asking the Chicago Aviation Commissioner to resign or for the Mayor to fire her. FAiR say there is “mounting frustration over the lack of response from the Mayor on possible remedies concerning “the ceaseless airplane noise” since air-traffic patterns were changed last autumn. The Aviation Commissioner has refused to consider altering the use of runways at night to spread out jet noise instead of concentrating it over one or two air corridors. FAiR says she has made up her mind that there will be no change at O’Hare no matter how many citizens demand change, no matter what solutions are proposed and no matter how devastating the impact of her decisions on families, children and seniors, and even entire neighbourhoods.
FAiR ON FACEBOOK http://www.fairchicago.org/