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November 13, 2013

Airport updates its noise mitigation program

Public meetings set in Plainfield and the westside

The Indianapolis Airport Authority will host two public meetings regarding the latest updates to Indianapolis International Airport’s Noise Exposure Map. However, not much has changed since the last update.

The meetings are from 5 to 7 p.m. Nov. 18 at Plainfield High School, 1 Red Pride Drive, and from 5 to 7 p.m. Nov. 19 at the Lynhurst 7th & 8th Grade Center, 2805 S. Lynhurst Drive, Indianapolis. Both meetings are open to the public and will have an informal, open-house setting. Airport staff and noise consultants will be on hand to offer information and answer questions.

Those already familiar with the airport’s NEM shouldn’t expect much difference with the latest update. Robert Duncan, the IAA’s executive director, said the noise exposure maps have changed ever so slightly, “Almost to the point that unless you study it for a while you can’t see the differences. They’re not significant at all.”

The only really noticeable change is a small bump in the boundary of the southwest side of runway 23L.

“It doesn’t impact any homes,” Duncan said.

All the big alterations related to noise mitigation happened years ago. The airport started its noise program in 1987, which initially entailed acquiring 250 homes in the highest impacted areas. The NEM was updated in 1992 when FedEx established a hub there.

“That expanded the noise contours, which required the acquisition of about 750 homes,” Duncan said.

By 1996 the U.S. Postal Service, like FedEx, was running a hub with nighttime operations. That expanded the noise boundaries some five miles from the airport.

“That had us doing sound installation in the Plainfield area,” Duncan said.

In 2000 the postal service contracted with FedEx to deliver mail by air. Those operations moved to the company’s headquarters in Memphis.

“When we finished our study in 2002 and 2003, the noise contours shrank dramatically,” Duncan said. “They’ve been about the same ever since.”

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