Local News

DOT Officials Claim Noise Wall Would Not Help Problems At Durham School

Posted May 28, 2002

— A group of Durham parents believe a new highway project is disrupting their kids' learning environment and poses a potential danger.

The Interstate 85 widening project is creeping closer to

Club Boulevard Humanities Magnet School

than parents, teachers and students are comfortable with.

"It gets really, really loud and it's hard to hear the teacher speaking, and so it would be good to build a wall because then the noise would go to the wall," student Kara Mountcastle said.

The students have a bird's-eye view of the interstate from their school playground.

"It's noisy when you're all the way back near that part. You can't hear my teacher up here saying it's time to line up," said student Emma Stanion.

The parents said the construction has taken away trees that used to shield the playground from the interstate. They are unhappy about the noise from I-85 and they are worried about lead from cars getting onto the playground.

Parents and school officials have talked to the

Department of Transportation


"They have agreed to help us with some landscaping and things like that. And while that could help, I don't know if it will really return the playground to its original state or make it really part of the learning environment," parent Courtney Stanion said.

What parents really want is a noise wall to buffer the sight and sounds of the interstate.

DOT officials claim there is as much noise from Club Boulevard as I-85 and the noise wall would not help that. They also said if the noise wall was just off the school yard, the sound would go right over the top.

The road is 25 feet above the playground. Engineers said the right way would be to put the noise wall up on that bridge, which would quadruple the cost of the bridge.

"They're acting as bureaucrats in the worst sense of the term," said parent Bud Reiter-Lavery. "What they're doing is looking for a reason not to do it so the first time they come up with an issue it's 'Whoops, it won't work.'"

Parents, teachers and students held a rally Tuesday.

"I think 500 children and their education and their quality of life day in and day out is worth us pushing all the way," said principal Carolyn Ridout.

The DOTs deputy division engineer was not available for comment, but the DOT has said in letters to the school that a noise wall is not an option.

The DOT is trying to speed up the work for the school's sake. Parents are hoping the attention from their rally will lead to a lot more.


Mark Roberts


Kamal Wallace


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