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O'Hare is getting a new runway, $1.3 billion in investments

Written by
Clayton Guse

Chicago's biggest airport is set to get even bigger in the next decade. On Friday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and company announced a $1.3 billion infrastructure plan for the hub, which will include a new runway and a slew of other updates.

The new runway is scheduled to be commissioned in 2020. Upon completion, the it will be the second-largest runway at O'Hare, and will be used for both arriving and departing aircrafts. This has to be a kick in the gut for residents who live near the airport, as rampant noise pollution has led community members to butt heads with O'Hare and city officials, especially after a new runway opened there in October. In a press release, the mayor's office said that the new runway will balance "noise exposure among communities east and west of O'Hare" and that the city "plans to ensure that sound insulation of all eligible homes and schools will commence and be completed before the runway opens." Even with all that, it's hard to believe that a huge new runway will somehow make the area surrounding O'Hare less noisy.

Roughly half of the funds for the project will go towards the runway, with the remainder being allocated to a centralized deicing facility and a variety of other improvements that ought to make traveling through O'Hare a less miserable experience. When it's all said and done, the airport will have more gates and an increased capacity, which is good news to any Chicagoan with a civic inferiority complex. After all, O'Hare lost its title of the nation's busiest airport in 2015, clocking about 17,000 fewer flights than Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport over the course of the year.

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