Noise solution: Richmonders unsure over new VDOT wall

Posted at 1:56 PM, Sep 03, 2013
and last updated 2013-09-03 13:56:51-04

RICHMOND, Va (WTVR) - Motorcycles are the biggest culprit for Richard Gustine who lives in Richmond's Rosedale neighborhood. Homes in the Northside neighborhood are separated from Interstate 95 traffic by only a wood fence.

"I just pretend I live near the ocean, and [the sound of traffic] is the waves coming in," Gustine said.

His coping mechanism for the noise, which is noticeable at various points in the neighborhood, does not work for everyone.  For years, Rosedale residents have complained to VDOT about the problem.

"People right up against the highway, I feel for them because it is loud right here," Rosedale neighbor Caroline Platt said.

A form of sound relief could soon be installed, but not everyone is thrilled about the idea.

A VDOT spokesperson said the department plans to install a vinyl wall near the neighborhood by early next year.  The vinyl wall, which is about two-inches thick, will serve as a sound buffer for residents.

However, many residents had hoped VDOT would install concrete sound barriers like ones that line some area highways.

VDOT said those cannot be installed because of a policy that prohibits the installation of sound barriers unless a highway is expanded or the height of the road altered.

VDOT said they cannot stray from this policy because of the many other neighborhoods in Central Virginia who would line up behind Rosedale requesting sound barriers.

Members of the Rosedale Civic Association are not thrilled with vinyl wall solution.

"This highway is just getting busier, and just getting louder. Over time, it's really going to impede on home values," Platt said.

With a low crime rate and good schools nearby, Platt said the noise has not stopped new families from moving into Rosedale.  She is hopeful the vinyl wall will help mute some of the noise.

The Rosedale Civic Association plans to discuss the new developments at a meeting Tuesday night.

VDOT said they plan on advertising for a contractor on the project, and plans to begin construction after the holidays.  Construction would take 60 days, according to VDOT.