River Hills considers sound study to aid in DOT negotiations

Better now than after plans are finalized

Sept. 20, 2013

River Hills — Elected officials will likely commission a sound analysis on neighboring Interstate 43 to gather evidence and improve their argument to include noise-reducing measures in a distant state Department of Transportation I-43 reconstruction project.

In previous discussions, DOT representatives have said their studies did not find a reason to put up sound barriers along I-43 in River Hills. Village officials, on the other hand, say noise pollution from the freeway is killing property values.

A sound study, Village Manager Chris Lear and Village Engineer Mustafa Emir said, could give the village leverage in future negotiations with the DOT over the possibility of noise-reducing features.

"We're not necessarily looking to redo everything the DOT is trying to do, but rather re-evaluate what they're giving us and see if it's accurate," Lear said, "and see if there are areas where we can exert some political pressure to alleviate sound."

The DOT is currently in the early planning stages of a I-43 reconstruction from Silver Spring Drive in Glendale to Highway 60 in Grafton, which, if approved by the state's Transportation Projects Committee in the coming years, is tentatively scheduled to begin in 2019.

Emir said it's important to attempt to influence the DOT's plans before they're finalized, at which point it would be nearly impossible to bring them back for reconsideration.

"We have eight or nine years to do this," Emir said. "Let's do our due diligence and not walk away from the table."

Trustees were receptive to the idea of hiring a consultant expert to complete the study, which Emir estimates will cost the village several thousand dollars.

"I think it's worth making a case rather than rolling over and going, 'oh well,'" Trustee Peggy Russo said.

Emir said he will screen candidates and bring back a proposal to the board at its October meeting.

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