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O'Hare Noise Complaints Top 4 Million in 2015, Records Show

 An advocacy group acknowledged little action has been taken on local jet noise complaints.
An advocacy group acknowledged little action has been taken on local jet noise complaints.
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Flickr/ Jim Wissemes

O'HARE — Complaints about jet noise from Chicago jumped 20 percent from November to January as Northwest Side residents aggravated by the racket continued to deluge officials with grievances.

In the final tally for 2015, Chicagoans and residents of the surrounding suburbs filed more than 4 million complaints about jet noise — up from 268,000 in 2014.

In January, 176,079 complaints were filed by Chicago residents with city officials, according to data released Friday by the O'Hare Noise Compatibility Commission. Nearly 33 percent of those complaints came from just eight addresses, officials said.

The tally of complaints includes those logged through chicagonoisecomplaint.com, which was designed by Darrin Thomas, a member of the Fair Allocation in Runways Coalition, to allow angry residents to log their anger with one click, rather than fill out the city's long form.

The number of people from Chicago who filed a complaint soared even higher, rising 57 percent from November to January, according to the commission.

The total number of complaints from city and suburban addresses rose 4 percent from November to January to 359,633, according to the commission.

Approximately 29 percent percent of complaints from both the city and the suburbs were made from 12 addresses, according to the commission.

Complaints can be made by calling a 24-hour hotline — 800-435-9569 — or submitting an online form.

In Chicago, residents of the 41st Ward, which includes Norwood Park, Edgebrook and Edison Park, filed 49,000 complaints in January — more than double of any other ward or Chicago suburb, according to the commission.

In October 2013, a new east-west runway opened as part of the $8.7 billion O'Hare Modernization Program, sending hundreds of flights over areas of the Northwest Side like North Park, Jefferson Park, Edgebrook, Edison Park and Norwood Park that previously heard little or no jet noise in previous years.

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

The newest east-west runway at O'Hare opened Oct. 15. The $516 million runway, on the south side of the airport at Berteau Avenue, will be used mostly for arrivals from the west, at least until 2021 when the airport expansion is expected to be completed.

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