Springfield, IL … Yesterday some of the first steps were officially taken at the Illinois Capitol to help bring relief to residents affected by noise pollution being generated by O’Hare Airport. Communities surrounding the airport have fallen victim to a drastic increase in noise generated by low-flying aircraft due to the realignment of runways in 2013. The legislation, known as Senate Bill 636, permits O’Hare Airport to increase the number of operational runways from eight to ten. In doing so, this allows for the operation of all four diagonal runways to run simultaneously which are the airstrips that produce the least amount of noise over surrounding neighborhoods.
State Representative Michael McAuliffe (R-Chicago), a chief co-sponsor of the bill, was encouraged to see the measure advance:
“For far too long, residents in my district have had to adjust their lives to cope with the deafening noise of low-flying aircraft over their homes. I have spoken with many families who cannot sit in their back yards anymore or open their windows to let a breeze in on a nice day. They essentially could not enjoy their home without a constant rattling of their windows and doors. Increasing the amount of operational runways at O’Hare is one way in which the General Assembly can help alleviate the noise and encourage the airport to operate the diagonal runways.”
The bill also makes changes to bring current electronic noise monitoring systems surrounding the airport, including an updated noise contour map showing the noise being generated by the aircraft as they depart and arrive over the surrounding areas. The results of the updated monitoring will help lead towards better soundproofing in homes within those contour maps.
“Those of us who represent communities surrounding the O’Hare Airport were able to work together towards a common goal,” explained McAuliffe. “We can go back to our districts to let our constituents know that, while progress seems to be moving slowly, there has been advancement made and we will continue to find creative ways to bring noise relief to our constituents.”
Since Senate Bill 636 was amended in the House, the measure will return to the Senate where it be will reheard with the respective amendment.