CHICAGO - A DuPage County, Ill., Circuit Court judge yesterday cleared the path for Chicago's demolition of about 500 suburban homes to make room for the $7.5 billion runway expansion plan at O'Hare International Airport, although local opponents vowed to carry on their legal challenge.

Judge Kenneth Popejoy released his written ruling yesterday, lifting the preliminary injunction imposed in July 2007 to allow for an environmental study on the public health hazards the village of Bensenville had argued would result if demolition were permitted. While the study failed to show sufficient toxins and other hazards existed to stem demolition, the village believes a more detailed assessment is needed.

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