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)

Holaday went on to dispute Earls’ contention that she might not be doing enough to help, saying she and her staff have been actively and aggressively working with MassDOT over the last three years and was equally disappointed when told by the state that it would not be spending money on a new sound barrier.

Holaday provided a letter she sent 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.

“The existing decades-old wall is generally considered to be inadequate — not high enough to block the views and noise of trucks and not long enough to provide protection for all the residences,” Holaday wrote.

Holaday said she was still waiting for a response.

O’Connor Ives said Monday’s meeting will give abutters a chance to meet Monroe and put a face to a name. Residents will be able to be added to a weekly email blast from MassDOT that highlights upcoming work surrounding the Whittier Bridge, I-95 project. It is hoped that Monroe will be able to give residents an idea when vegetation will be replanted as a sight and sound barrier.

But also, O’Connor Ives said, she wanted to give residents the latest news in her and Costello’s campaign to get the state to invest money in a new and improved sound barrier wall. O’Connor Ives said if the state was going to spend $8 million for a shared use path, it could surely spend an estimated $400,000 to erect a better sound barrier.

“I want the neighbors to know we’re not happy with their (MassDOT) decision and we’re going to advocate,” O’Connor Ives said.

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