Residents voice support for Interstate noise barriers

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Jim Leute
Thursday, October 3, 2013

JANESVILLE—It's official: The reconstructed central segment of Interstate 90/39 through Janesville will include noise barriers.

Voting wrapped up late last week on a state Department of Transportation proposal to build a series of nine noise barriers along the central segment, which runs from County O south of Janesville to the Dane County line.

Derek Potter, project manager for the central segment, said all nine barriers were overwhelmingly approved by a combined vote of 220 to eight.

The department estimates the cost of the barriers at $2.2 million per mile per side of the highway.

For the most part, the barriers will be built near the Interstate. The roadway will have a 12-foot shoulder to a safety barrier, and then an additional four feet to the noise barrier.

In some cases—particularly along the northbound lanes between Ruger Avenue and Milwaukee Street—topography will push the barriers closer to homes, about 3 to 8 feet off the right-of-way line.

Federal guidelines mandate that for a noise barrier to be constructed it must be feasible, reasonable and approved by a majority of people who live nearby. The department has determined the nine walls are feasible and reasonable, and homeowners and renters have now approved the barriers.

Each of the nine barriers got a separate vote.

Now that the barriers are approved, the next step is determining the aesthetics of the barriers, which will be built as the highway is constructed.

Property owners and residents also will have a say in that process.

The central segment is one of three in the entire Interstate expansion, which will run about 45 miles from the Illinois state line to the Beltline in Madison.

For the most part, the project will start in 2015 and wrap up in 2021. Work began this summer and will end this fall on the reconstruction of the Interstate's exchange at Racine Street in Janesville.

For the project, crews will:

-- Reconstruct and expand the Interstate from four to six lanes and reconfigure all 11 interchanges.

-- Expand the Interstate to eight lanes—four lanes in each direction—from Avalon Road south of Janesville to the Highway 26 interchange on the city's north side.


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