With jet noise from a new runway at O'Hare International Airport making life miserable for some Bensenville residents, village leaders are appealing to the federal government and city of Chicago for an intervention.
Tactics such as adjusting the altitudes of aircraft could make a measurable difference for homeowners, Village President Frank Soto said Friday.
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The new runway is located on the south side of O'Hare and is intended to mostly handle arrivals. Its commissioning shifted flight patterns to a mostly east and west flow, with 70 percent of the traffic anticipated to flow west and 30 percent to flow east.
The change has resulted in a blitz of noise concerns from Addison, Bensenville, Elk Grove Village, Itasca, Wood Dale, Chicago and other towns, according to Chicago Department of Aviation reports.
For example in Bensenville, there were 332 noise complaints this March compared to just one in March 2013. Total noise complaints in March 2013 were 1,402, compared to 11,145 this March.
Soto said he's consulted with other civic leaders in aviation hubs like Atlanta and Dallas.
Some solutions would require Federal Aviation Administration approval. These include increasing the altitude of aircraft arriving and departing.
With the new runway, "landings tend to be very noisy because the glide patterns are very low," Soto said. "The planes come in so low and level it creates a lot of problems for the homeowners and soundproofing only goes so far."
The village needs to take a proactive role instead of "sitting and waiting until the airport is done and putting noise monitors out and having the FAA do a new contour map," Soto said.
But "we have a good relationship with the city," he added. "We're not here to point fingers and be confrontational."
In a statement, Chicago officials called Bensenville an "important partner" in modernizing O'Hare, noting the airport was a "major economic engine for our region."
"The Chicago Department of Aviation has made substantial investments in sound insulating homes and schools around the airport. We will continue to work closely with the O'Hare Noise Compatibility Commission to address noise issues," officials said.
FAA spokesman Tony Molinaro said the agency would work with the city and ONCC on noise issues. "This ensures that all communities around the airport are involved in the process."
The ONCC includes Bensenville, Chicago and other communities surrounding O'Hare.