Runway opens at O'Hare Airport; Residents concerned about noise

October 17, 2013 (CHICAGO)

10-28C, which is two miles long and O'Hare's widest runway, is expected to cut flight delays by 50-percent. The sound of an arriving jet smothered the celebration at O'Hare Airport as Runway 10C-28C was officially dedicated. Those in attendance cheered.

"It's a great sound!" Chicago Aviation Commissioner Rosie Andolino said.

But not everyone feels the same.

"The whole quality of life in the neighborhood has changed. We wake up in the morning with the sound of the jets. We get to go to sleep when the jets stop at night," Steve Lushniak, Edison Park resident, said.

There are now four east-west runways - and a fifth is planned. That means the noise contours surrounding O'Hare have changed and neighborhoods that were unaccustomed to noise years ago are now getting it with regularity.

"We realize they're, of course, not going away. We realize it's needed for the economy for the area. But let's spread this out a little bit," Steve Lushniak/Edison Park

A coalition of residents neighboring O'Hare argues for more varied runway usage and though the O'Hare Expansion Plan is not likely to undergo much change, the mayor says the city wants to be a good neighbor.

"So we're very sensitive as a city, and our aviation department and the way we manage our airports to work with the surrounding communities. We do it in a way that I think is at least balanced. We're going to work at doing it better," said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

A portion 10-28C covers land where St Johnannes Cemetery was once located. The city won that long legal fight. The graves were moved for a runway O'Hare officials are calling "the crossroads to the world."

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