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O'Hare Noise Complaints From Chicago Rise 77 Percent This Year

 A plan soars over the Northwest Side, where noise complaints were up this weekend.
A plan soars over the Northwest Side, where noise complaints were up this weekend.
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DNAinfo/Heather Cherone

O'HARE — Complaints about jet noise from Chicago soared 77 percent in the first three months of 2016, as Northwest Side residents continue to press officials to reduce the racket they say keeps them up at night and makes it impossible to enjoy their yards.

In the first three months this year, Chicagoans logged 434,507 complaints about noisy planes taking off or landing at O'Hare Airport as compared with 244,863 complaints in January, February and March of 2015, according to data released Friday by the O'Hare Noise Compatibility Commission.

In March, 131,671 complaints were filed by Chicago residents with city officials, the records show. Approximately 22 percent of those complaints came from just three addresses, according to the commission.

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.

While the number of complaints from Chicagoans dropped 25 percent from January to March, the number of individuals who filed at least one complaint rose 126 percent, according to the commission.

The total number of complaints from city and suburban addresses rose 30 percent from January to March to 468,691, according to the commission.

Approximately 41 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 12 percent more complaints in March than they did in January, 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.

The commission on Friday overwhelmingly approved a revised plan to rotate every week the O'Hare Airport runways used at night.

The plan to reduce jet noise calls for one runway to be used for arrivals and another one for departures in an effort to spread out the nighttime noise from 10:45 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. The runways in use would change every week as part of a 12-week cycle, according to the proposal from city Aviation Department officials.

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