Runway rotation plan gets another vote in May

  • Officials are seeking a runway rotation plan that would distribute jet noise evenly overnight.

    Officials are seeking a runway rotation plan that would distribute jet noise evenly overnight. Daily Herald File Photo

Updated 4/19/2016 5:21 PM

Complex variables such as wind speed figure into a weekly runway rotation that Chicago Department of Aviation consultants briefed O'Hare Noise Compatibility Commission members about on Tuesday.

The plan sputtered at a March meeting, failing to generate a two-thirds majority, but a revote is scheduled for May 6. If that succeeds and the Federal Aviation Administration concurs, the rotation could start up this summer for a six-month trial.


The intent is to spread overnight jet noise equally among the suburbs and Chicago neighborhoods surrounding O'Hare. A proposed 12-week cycle using different landing and departure runways overnight generated both skepticism and optimism from ONCC technical committee members.

Overnight is loosely defined as from 11 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. The rotation concept includes a mix of parallel and diagonal runways along with east and west approaches.

"We didn't want to affect the same community weeks in a row with the same type of operations," consultant Doug Goldberg said.

The concept would scale back the use of O'Hare's longest runway, 10-Left/28-Right, which directs jets over Wood Dale and Bensenville. It also includes 14-Right/32-Left, a diagonal runway scheduled to be retired in 2021.

"Compared to the status quo, it's a better deal," ONCC Chairman and Mount Prospect Mayor Arlene Juracek said.

But Medinah resident Dan Dwyer, a member of the Fair Allocation in Runways group, said although the city is rotating runways it's not necessarily rotating impact. He noted that 10-Left/28-Right and another runway 1,200 feet south, 10-Center/28-Center, both affect the same neighborhoods to the west.

Wood Dale Alderman Art Woods, who compared nighttime noise to "torture," agreed. "When you're closer in, it's harder to spread the noise," he said.

Schaumburg Transportation Director Karen Robles said she was hopeful the rotation could bring relief, but added village residents are concerned about overuse of 14-Right/32-Left. "If there was an easy solution, we would have implemented it," she said.

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