Rosedale neighbors want VDOT to install concrete barrier

Posted at 6:47 PM, Jun 04, 2013

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) -- They live only a stones throw away from Interstate 95 and some neighbors in North Richmond's Rosedale community are all fired up.  They have big concerns about the current wooden fence barrier that sits between their homes and I-95 near the Boulevard.

Homeowners say it's flimsy, doesn't provide much of a noise barrier and they claim it's not what their neighborhood was promised years ago.

Thousands of cars heading north on I-95 pass Riki Inge's home every day. She lives near the intersection of Elmsmere and Rosedale and sees cars whizzing by through the cracks of a broken wooden fence. She hears more accidents than she cares to remember.

"It's a real dangerous stretch. There's a big curve and it's where three highways meet. Trucks are always having trouble maneuvering through and they always put on the brakes. I hear a lot of fender benders" Inge explained.

One,  a few years ago, Inge says sounded like a freight train rolling through her Rosedale neighborhood. "It was a 5 car pile up with tractor trailers and someone died. Yeah, it's a little scary" Inge added.

Neighbors say the traffic noise isn't their only concern. They're worried about how sturdy that wooden fence is that serves as the current barrier between their homes and the interstate.

Inge pointed out the fence is falling apart in many places and says they would just feel more comfortable having a concrete barrier to protect them.

Rosedale Civic Association President Liz Turner and others are grateful that VDOT has a plan to replace the barrier. They're just upset about what could go up.

That fence has been there since the 1960's. They're replacing it with vinyl" Turner said. A VDOT spokesperson tells CBS 6 News that the area does not qualify for a concrete sound barrier retrofit.  She says the construction of a concrete one would have had to coincide with the construction of the roadway or an increase in traffic.

The vinyl structure they're considering is reinforced with steel to help reduce noise and to provide added security for the homes.

VDOT engineers plan to explain all the options that they are considering to neighbors at a special meeting Tuesday evening at 7 p.m. That meeting will be held in the library at Linwood Holton Elementary School on Laburnum Avenue.

"The neighborhood was promised a sound barrier when the interstate was put in and we want VDOT to honor their commitment and finish the job from all those years ago. We want VDOT to understand that we are serious about this and we're not going to sit idly by and wait and wait endlessly," Turner said.

City Council President Charles Samuels and Del. Jennifer McClellan are also expected to sit in on the meeting to see how VDOT and neighbors will come together to address their safety concerns.