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New O'Hare Jet Noise Monitors Coming to 39th, 40th, 41st Wards

By Heather Cherone | January 9, 2015 1:38pm | Updated on January 12, 2015 8:22am
 A plane soars over the Northwest Side, where noise complaints were up this weekend.
A plane soars over the Northwest Side, where noise complaints were up this weekend.
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DNAinfo/Heather Cherone

O'HARE — Two of the Chicago wards hit hardest by the racket caused by jets using a new runway at O'Hare Airport will each get two new noise monitors in an effort to document the noise, officials said Friday.

The 39th Ward — which includes Sauganash, Mayfair, Albany Park and North Park — will get two noise monitors, as will the 41st Ward, which includes Edgebrook, O'Hare, Norwood Park and Edison Park.

In November, 41st Ward residents filed 2,290 complaints with city officials via a toll-free hotline and website. That same month, 39th Ward residents filed 968 complaints — the second-highest of any Chicago ward tracked by the O'Hare Noise Compatibility Commission.

Ald. Patrick O'Connor's 40th Ward — which includes parts of  West Ridge, Andersonville, Edgewater, Rogers Park, Lincoln Square and Ravenswood — will also get a noise monitor.

O'Connor, Mayor Rahm Emanuel's floor leader and one of the city's most powerful aldermen, has said his residents have been "struggling" to cope with the noise from the hundreds of jets that fly over their homes to use an east-west runway that opened in 2013.

In previous years, 40th Ward residents — most of whom live more than 10 miles from the airport — heard little to no jet noise.

Residents of the 40th Ward filed 172 jet noise complaints with city officials in November, according to data released Friday by the noise commission.

Ald. Mary O'Connor (41st) and Ald. Margaret Laurino (39th) are also close allies of the mayor.

Noise monitors also will be installed in Itasca, Bensenville and Norridge, western suburbs that also have endured more jet noise since the opening of O'Hare's newest runway.

The precise locations will be worked out in the coming weeks, noise commission officials said.

Although one of the new noise monitors will not be installed in his 45th Ward, Ald. John Arena said two of the monitors will be close enough to measure the racket residents of Portage Park, Jefferson Park, Forest Glen and Gladstone Park hear day and night.

"The ward boundaries don't really matter," said Arena, one of the mayor's most frequent critics. "My concern was that they pick up the noise from the extended runway, and these locations make sense."

The locations of the noise monitors were designed to measure the racket in areas where flight paths have changed, or are anticipated to change, because of the construction of new runways, according to Gregg Cunningham, a spokesman for the city's Aviation Department.

Each monitor has an approximate range of 3 miles in each direction, Cunningham said.

Emanuel said in July the new noise monitors will help city aviation officials "gather and process the data" needed "to better understand the impact" of the noise caused by changes in the flight paths to and from O'Hare.

There are now 33 noise monitors around the airport, which is in the midst of the $8.7 billion O'Hare Modernization Program designed to expand the airport's capacity and make it function more efficiently. Only two monitors are in the city.

Flight patterns at O'Hare are designed to ensure the airport operate as efficiently and safely as possible, federal aviation officials said.

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