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NCDOT Meets with Residents about Greensboro Urban Loop Noise

Don't expect a lot of "Kumbaya" moments during tonight's public meetingabout traffic noise and the city's western loop.

Some residents along the 7.5-mile route are hoping a recent review by the state Department of Transportation will result in more noise walls being built between their neighborhoods and the new interstate bypass.

The article goes on to say its doubtful NCDOT will provide more noise walls for residents bordering the new leg of the Greensboro Urban Loop (I-40/I-73). They say legally they are not responsible for providing sound walls for people who built houses after the project was announced back in 1996. Some residents cry foul saying either NCDOT was not honest about constructing the road, calling it Painter Blvd. which implied to some a 4-lane surface roadway not a 6-8 lane freeway. Others suggest the noise analysis done for the road was flawed either due to bad design or an undercount of potential traffic, particularly trucks, using the road. NCDOT in response said they indicated all along that the route would be an interstate highway.

Story: Greensboro News & Record

Commentary:
It's easy to feel sorry for some of these people who are truly impacted by the noise. I spent one summer house-sitting. The house was about 1/2 mile from I-40 and the noise of trucks often woke me up at night. Certainly, NCDOT has had its share of under-counting urban loop traffic (e.g., I-485) so it is possible this is the major reason for the noise problems. All this, however, doesn't absolve people from some responsibility since they moved into an area where they were told a highway was being constructed, if they didn't ask what exact type of highway, this is not NCDOT's fault. Certainly plans were available for residents in the area to look at. So there's probably enough blame to go around.

One possible way to at least reduce the truck traffic would be to put up a sign recommending trucks use the Business 40 route to US 220 back to the SE part of the Loop (I-40/85). NCDOT might worry though that the trucks would stay on Business 40 to Business 85 and through Death Valley increasing traffic through that area again (of course, some traffic probably does this now anyway knowing that the route is shorter). Maybe this can serve as another catalyst to make Business 40 and 3di interstate at least to US 220, a spur of I-40 for trucks to follow. Then again an even digit I-73 3di which would take Business 40 then US 220 back to the Loop might work better. I will be interested in what is reported about the meeting tomorrow.

Comments

Bob Malme said…
An update. Needless to say NCDOT was not sympathetic to the 200 or so people who showed up for the meeting. They told them, as expected, that they could not build any more noise walls. They could, though, plant more trees to provide an increased buffer between the freeway and the neighboring houses. For a news video story of the meeting go to:
http://www.wxii12.com/news/16373394/detail.html

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