Residents fear new O’Hare runway to increase noise

CHICAGO – Residents near Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport who are already concerned about the noise levels are worried about the impact of a new runway expected to open this week.

One of the nation’s busiest airports, O’Hare is set to debut its new runway Thursday. The project is part of the airport’s Modernization Plan, which is supposed to decrease delays by reducing the number of crisscrossing runways for new parallel ones.

But those living around the airport say they’re worried about more noise. The Chicago Sun-Times reported Sunday that the new runway is expected to increase arrivals at a nearby terminal – more than 50 percent, according to an analysis of city data predictions. Also about 70 percent of the year’s night arrivals will arrive at that same nearby terminal.

Don Walsh, a retired city deputy fire commissioner said the noise level is already “obnoxious.”

“I’m stunned. It’s the worst nightmare I could ever think of,” he said, saying cargo planes in the early morning already disturb his sleep. “Our houses are rumbling, they are literally shaking now at night. They need to equally distribute traffic when a runway goes in.”

He’s a member of the Fair Allocation in Runways coalition which has left door hangers on thousands of homes warning people of decreased property values.

Two Democratic Illinois congressmen – U.S. Reps. Mike Quigley and Jan Schakowsky – have asked aviation officials to look at changes to re-evaluate the noise levels.

The multibillion-dollar project to reconfigure and add runways at O’Hare began more than ten years ago and is aimed at expanding capacity and eliminating severe delays.

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Information from: Chicago Sun-Times, http://www.suntimes.com/index