NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

February 10, 2014

City working on plan for sound-proof barriers on I-95

(Continued)

While narrower than the nearly 40-year-old wall, MassDOT’s wall would be of the same height and lack the sound-proofing qualities residents have been fighting for. For more than a year, MassDOT officials have stressed that new noise barriers are built as a result of a formula that takes into account the number of homes benefited, the total cost of construction of noise barrier and the average reduction of noise in the affected area. The rule of thumb to make a noise barrier feasible, reasonable and cost-effective is $8,400 or less per each decibel decrease, per each “benefited receptor” — usually a residence.

But Lombardi said that any separate agreement with Walsh-McCourt can be made without having to meet the federal noise impact formula referenced by MassDOT.

Reaching an agreement with Walsh-McCourt has long been on Holaday’s radar since drafting a letter to MassDOT acting district 4 highway director Paul Steadman dated Aug. 26, formally requesting MassDOT’s approval for a higher and longer barrier wall that would be paid for by bridge contractor Walsh-McCourt as compensation for its use of land off Spring Lane for a staging area.

Last week MassDOT spokesman Michael Verseckes wrote in an email that his agency is aware of the city’s interest in reaching a third-party agreement with the contractor.

“If MassDOT is presented with a concept that is consistent with the project’s base technical concept, adheres to highway safety regulations, and can be achieved at no cost to the agency, MassDOT will take it into consideration,” Verseckes wrote.

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