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updated: 9/3/2014 7:25 PM

Suburban lawmakers press to speed up O'Hare noise review

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  • A new runway has led to unexpected noise for communities surrounding O'Hare International Airport.

       A new runway has led to unexpected noise for communities surrounding O'Hare International Airport.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer, October 2013

 
 

A trio of lawmakers pushed federal regulators this week to pressure the FAA to speed up a review of noise standards that qualify residents near O'Hare International Airport for soundproofing aid.

The completion of a new runway in October 2013 shifted O'Hare air traffic to an east/west flow instead of multiple directions, which has caused misery for hundreds of suburban and city residents unaccustomed to jets screeching overhead.

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U.S. Reps. Mike Quigley, Tammy Duckworth and Jan Schakowsky, Democrats from Chicago, Hoffman Estates and Evanston, respectively, lobbied the Office of Management and Budget in a letter Tuesday asking officials to expedite the audit of the 65 decibel day-night-average sound level that triggers free soundproofing.

"We believe the current 65 DNL metric is outdated and disconnected from the real impact that air traffic noise is having on our constituents, and expediting the FAA's study will allow for the establishment of a more reasonable standard," the three wrote.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced in July that the city would add more noise monitors in the area surrounding the airport. The monitors are designed to track the decibel level and frequency of aircraft arriving and departing. The data is used to decide who qualifies for free soundproofing.

Noise complaints rose from 1,863 in April 2013, before the new runway opened, to 10,961 in April 2014, according to the latest city data. In Bensenville, complaints shot up from one in April 2013 to 393 a year later. In Itasca, it was 52 in 2013 and 1,672 in 2014. In Chicago, it was 1,196 in 2013 compared to 4,136.

To make a noise complaint or learn about soundproofing go to www.flychicago.com/OHare/EN/AboutUs/NoiseManagement/AirportNoise/Pages/Airport-Noise. aspx.

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