Traffic

I-540 a noisy neighbor for some

Posted August 27, 2010 6:32 p.m. EDT
Updated August 27, 2010 7:14 p.m. EDT

— Melissa Poole can't see Interstate 540 from her back deck, but she knows it's there.

"It can be difficult to entertain in the back yard, for sure," said Poole who has lived in the Dominion Park neighborhood near I-540 and Leesville Road for more than 11 years.

She and her husband built their house knowing I-540 would be their neighbor.

"Honestly, we didn't think quite think that the highway was going to be as close as it is," she said.

Poole and other residents say the problem is that the expansion of I-540 has increased the traffic, and that's made it noisier.

"When they opened it to Capital Boulevard, traffic increased, and when I-540 opened all the way to U.S. Highway 64 out by Knightdale, I noticed a lot of 18-wheeler trucks," Poole said.

She and neighbors want the state Department of Transportation to build a sound wall to deal with the extra noise. At this point, they aren't likely to get one.

"Unless there's a new project that comes along where we add additional lanes or something in this area, then no, we wouldn't be looking at any additional sound walls for that section of I-540," said Drew Joyner, the head of the DOT's Human Environment Unit.

Joyner says the DOT makes decisions about where to build sound walls before projects are built and that engineers study traffic projections 20 years into the future to help locate the barriers.

He says the DOT has already considered the noise.

"We looked at all the traffic along the project area, which would include everything that's open today," Joyner said.

Poole says that to a certain extent she's learned to live with the noise but still doesn't like it.

The DOT also does not put sound walls in for projects after a section is built.

Joyner says it is up to developers and real estate agents to help educate potential buyers about the noise from the road.