Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Road Sound Barriers Ok, but Officials Wary of Precedent Missouri Transportation Department Wants to Avoid Having to Build Them Everywhere

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Road Sound Barriers Ok, but Officials Wary of Precedent Missouri Transportation Department Wants to Avoid Having to Build Them Everywhere

Article excerpt

State highway officials are trying to find a way to install sound barriers along Interstate 170 in Ladue and Clayton without creating a precedent that would require similar barriers throughout the state.

Recently, the Highway and Transportation Commission agreed that a study of the Ladue-Clayton sound-barriers idea should be included in the St. Louis area's Transportation Improvement Program for 1994 through 1996.

The program is a schedule of highway and transit projects required by the federal government to avoid duplication and waste. The study is scheduled for next year.

The East-West Gateway Coordinating Council, the keeper of the schedule, last Wednesday put the study on the schedule but said it would remove it if state highway officials objected.

"We have 1,000 miles of urban freeways in the state," said Lewis Hancock, a state highway official. "We can't give everyone else an added extra amenity. That's a lot of highway projects that wouldn't get built."

Hancock is an assistant division engineer in Jefferson City. The federal government requires designs that minimize noise in new construction but makes anti-noise projects optional on roads already built, he says. The federal government would pay 80 percent of the cost.

At a recent public hearing, St. Louis County Councilwoman Geri Rothman-Serot said, "Curing this problem will cost relatively little. And because this is a unique set of circumstances, it would not set a precedent for the Highway Department elsewhere. For these residents, sound barriers are a necessity, not a luxury item."

Rothman-Serot told highway officials, "These homes were there before the highway was built and expanded. These residents did not complain until the noise levels and other problems became unbearable."

Rothman-Serot made her comments following a hearing Gateway had in the County Council chambers about the Transportation Improvement Program. …

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