CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (NEWSPLEX 19) –
People driving through the Route 29/250 Bypass in Charlottesville probably don't even notice it, but for people living on the other side of it, it's a big deal.
The sound barrier is not just a wall
"It would be a balance between a quality of life issue and also holding on to our property values," said Tate McCracken, a supporter of the sound barrier. It's something to help quiet down all that traffic noise, an effort by McCracken and several people in this neighborhood off of Angus Road. So they posed a question to project managers: "With this increased traffic flow, there'll be increased traffic noise, and is there a sound barrier in the project?"
The Virginia Department of Transportation was open to the idea.
"In this case, we did that community outreach," said Lou Hatter with VDOT. "We talked to the community and they indicated that they were in favor of having the sound walls installed as part of this project."
The $3.5 million walls will stand about 16 to19 feet high on both the northbound and southbound sides of Route 29, with a combined length of more than 2,000 feet of a porous material, putting the quiet back into the neighborhood.
"We're going to go outside and enjoy BBQs and not have trucks with their Jake brakes," said McCracken. Kids will be able to hang out in the yard without all that extra noise. "I really do believe with the second stages of the wall, of the barrier, it's already cut it in half," said McCracken.
Prior to construction, there was a natural barrier, made of trees, that had to be removed. McCraken hopes at least some of that natural barrier may make a return.
The Route 29/250 Bypass, also known as the Best Buy ramp project, is expected to be complete in May. The project is adding additional merge lanes to that intersection at Barracks Road.