- Published: 31 July 2015
SPRINGFIELD – The number of runways allotted to O’Hare International Airport is officially raised from eight to ten thanks to a proposal introduced in the Senate by State Senator John Mulroe (D-Chicago). The measure was signed into law by the governor today.
“We wanted to get the FAA and the City of Chicago to engage us in the conversation about the ill effect the noise was having on the residents in mine and others’ districts,” Mulroe said. “It had become clear to us that the noise problem greatly escalated following the completion of the O’Hare Modernization Program.”
The O’Hare Modernization Act was passed in 2000 with the intention of increasing efficiency and safety of the airport by adding multiple parallel runways to accommodate the greater number of East-West travelers. The number of noise complaints in January 2015 was 39,500, whereas the number of complaints the previous January was 1,357 prior to the opening of a new parallel East-West runway.
The language of the new law would allow O’Hare to keep the existing runways intact, including the existing diagonal runways, which allowed air traffic to be more evenly distributed. During the passage of this bill and a companion proposal, the City of Chicago began to decommission one of the diagonal runways leading to the issuance of a Memorandum of Understanding between all involved parties delaying any further work until previously agreed upon open house meetings with the public are held.
“The goal was to involve the community and hopefully address some of the very real concerns that people are having about the noise levels and the decreasing property values,” Mulroe said. “While it is unfortunate that the decommissioning process began prior to these meetings being held, I am optimistic that all involved parties will be able to walk away at the end of this process satisfied.”
Under the new law, more families would be eligible for sound proofing. The law becomes effective January 1, 2016.