Proposal to Soundproof 27 Schools near O'Hare Forging Ahead

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Byline: Jim Allen Daily Herald Staff Writer

The city of Chicago would borrow $211 million to pay for soundproofing 3,000 homes and 27 schools near O'Hare International Airport under a plan that comes before the city council next week.

The plan, advanced Friday by a city council committee, would have the city spend $95 million over the next three years to soundproof the schools, 24 of which are in suburbs and hindered by plane traffic.

Another $80 million would be used on private homes. The city also plans to spend $5 million to test technology that could examine flight management to direct more planes over less populated areas, such as industrial corridors, forest preserves and toll ways.

The Daley administration touted the schedule for the work. The schools would be completed at the rate of eight per year. An earlier batch of 37 school soundproofing projects were completed at the rate of three per year.

"We're the first airport in the country to use Passenger Facility Charge dollars (from airline ticket taxes) to back a bond issue so that we can get the work done with money we anticipate to receive over the next 10 years," said Aviation Department spokeswoman Lisa Howard.

Varying with the structure, the methods for soundproofing include installing new heating and cooling units, acoustical windows, doors, fireplace noise bafflers, attic insulation and, sometimes, extra layers of drywall or reinforcement. …