Tuesday, June 9, 2015

O'Hare Noise Public Meetings Planned this Summer As 2 Bills Proposed to Keep Diagonal Runways Open to Alleviate Noise East and West

With heavy and high volume air traffic arriving and departing on new and existing multiple parallel east/west runways, a large number of residents are feeling the stress of new flight patterns.

State Sen. John Mulroe, Senate sponsor of two bills that would preserve the diagonal runways 14L/32R and 14R/32L and State Sen. John Mulroe and Jac Charlier of the Fair Allocation in Runways Coalition propose that the diagonal runways should be used to spread out O'Hare air traffic more evenly. Keeping the extra diagonal runways -- originally planned for elimination in the initial airport expansion project -- could offer relief to citizens directly east and west of O'Hare. Those citizens are under the stress of new jet noise that started in 2013 with O'Hare's switch to the use of mostly parallel east-west runways. Existing state law limits O'Hare to eight runways. Keeping the diagonal runways would mean nine runways would exist at the airport.

The diagonal runways 14L/32R and 14R/32L are in line with several blocks of commercial property -- already used to daily air traffic -- and vacant land just east of a trailer park.

However, officials have begun dismantling electronic equipment on diagonal runway 14L/32R at O'Hare International Airport, even though two pending Illinois bills seeking to spare it from demolition. Runway 14:/32R is scheduled to be decommissioned on August 20, 2015 and to be demolished Spring 2016.

The dismantling of equipment came two days after State Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago) refused to call the runway bills for a vote in the House Transportation Committee.

Dan Carrico, president of the O'Hare tower unit of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, confirmed in May 2015 that instrument landing system equipment was removed already being removed from diagonal runway 14L/32R, rendering it largely unusable for arrivals. Departures would still be possible on 14L/32R.

The instrument landing system equipment was transferred to a new runway scheduled to open in October 2015 -- Runway 10C/28C, which is in line with several homes northeast of Route 83 and Irving Park Road and northwest of of Route 83 and Irving Park Road. Runway 10C/28C flights will also affect homes and apartments just north of Lawrence Avenue and west of River Road.

Runway 10C/28C runs parallel and very close to Runway 10L/28R, which is already open, and already stressing citizens north of Lawrence Avenue to the east of the airport and near Route 83 and Elmhurst Street to the west of the airport.

State Sen. John Mulroe hoped to get Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan to intervene.

By June 1, 2015 the City of Chicago asked the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to delay action that would cause "irreparable damage" to diagonal runways slated for the diagonal runways. The postponement will be in effect at least until the FAA conducts public meetings this summer about noise associated with O'Hare's ongoing airfield expansion project and after city officials meet with an anti-noise group.

The FAA has agreed to hold four workshop-style public meetings to receive feedback on its draft environmental impact study regarding a new east-west runway (10C/28C ), scheduled to open Oct. 15 on O'Hare's south airfield. The draft study has not yet been released, and no have dates and locations been set for the upcoming public meetings.

In addition, another parallel runway in the south airfield is planned to open in the final phase of the O'Hare expansion. Runway 10R/28L will be the closest to Irving Park Road (Route 19) and will be aligned to the west with homes near Grove Avenue in Bensenville and Fenton High School near Grove Avenue and Route 83.

Many of the aircraft landing on the south airfield are large cargo aircraft, including Boeing 747 freighters because the cargo facilities are located in the south airfield.

The diagonal runways could be especially useful at night when there is not as much volume of air traffic. Runway 14R/32L reaches very close to the cargo facilities, and many of the overnight flights at 2AM, 3AM and 4AM are cargo flights.

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