O'Hare runway rotation plan workshops begin Monday

With one government shutdown over, and a second possible, the Federal Aviation Administration is wasting no time squeezing in crucial forums on an overnight runway rotation plan at O'Hare International Airport.

Four workshops occur this week, including one in Elk Grove Village on Monday and a second in Elmhurst on Thursday. The FAA will provide maps and diagrams of anticipated jet noise distribution and experts to offer analysis and take public comments.

Rotating the runways where jets depart and land at night began after a new east-west flight pattern established at O'Hare in 2013 caused an unexpected din in some neighborhoods and exacerbated the problem in others.

The city and O'Hare Noise Compatibility Commission tested several rotations. This latest version would last just 11 months - starting in November 2019 through mid-May 2020, halting for construction, then continuing from mid-September 2020 through January 2021.

The interim proposal approved in 2017 requires a review and approval from the FAA; the four public meetings are part of the process.

The plan wasn't without controversy because some neighborhoods will get unwanted jet noise at night, although supporters say it is meant to evenly distribute the din around the region.

The ONCC is developing a more permanent rotation to operate after O'Hare's sixth and final east-west runway is built in November 2020 and an existing runway is expanded. Both are on the north airfield.

The 35-day government shutdown ended Jan. 25. Congress has until Feb. 15 to negotiate an end to the budget impasse that sparked the furloughs of federal employees and raised doubts about whether next week's forums would occur.

The FAA draft analysis is available online at

Hearing dates include: Monday at Belvedere Banquets, 1170 W. Devon Ave., Elk Grove Village; Tuesday at White Eagle Banquets, 6839 N. Milwaukee Ave., Niles; Wednesday at Hanging Gardens Banquet Rooms, 8301 W. Belmont Ave., River Grove; and Thursday at the Diplomat West, 681 W. North Ave., Elmhurst. All are 2 to 8 p.m.

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