NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

September 12, 2013

Politicians vow to have sound barriers installed on I-95

Issue has ramifications for mayor's race

(Continued)

In an email, MassDOT spokesman Michael Verseckes said there are no plans to construct additional noise barriers within the project limits.

Yesterday, O’Connor Ives said she wasn’t satisfied with MassDOT’s response to neighborhood concerns and was in the process of speaking to others on Beacon Hill to see if more can be done.

“In my opinion, that doesn’t suffice,” O’Connor Ives said, of MassDOT’s announcement.

Mostly quiet for over a year, neighbors have ramped up their efforts considerably since MassDOT removed a wide and long swath of vegetation, spilling sound into their neighborhood.

The issue has also taken on a political context, as Newburyport voters prepare to go to the polls on Tuesday to vote in a mayoral preliminary election involving Holaday, Earls and Richard Sullivan, Jr.

According to an email sent to The Daily News by Earls, neighbors have been contacting him for more than a week urging him to take action after feeling City Hall was not responding to their concerns. That prompted Earls, who wants to succeed Holaday as mayor, to contact O’Connor Ives’ office, which then began organizing a meeting with affected residents. Early attempts to arrange a meeting failed due to scheduling conflicts, but by Tuesday, the meeting had been confirmed for Monday.

Earls acknowledged yesterday that his council district does not include the Laurel Road/Ferry Road area but said his connections with O’Connor Ives made it easy for him to act as a facilitator between residents and O’Connor Ives.

“It was easier for me to call,” Earls said.

Reached yesterday, Holaday said she hadn’t received any phone calls or emails from Laurel Road and Ferry Road residents since the loss of vegetation and added that if residents had contacted her staff, she’d be informed.

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