Kirkwood Residents Upset Over MODOT Sound Wall Rejection

KIRKWOOD, MO (KTVI) – MODOT is putting up sound walls to shield various neighborhoods from the added noise. But, after lobbying for a sound wall for years, residents of Westview Avenue in Kirkwood are up in arms after MODOT rejected their plea for a sound wall. 
 
Westview Avenue resident Michele Long says I-270 and its incessant traffic are unbearable: “It literally interrupts my sleep, and when I have overnight guests they can’t believe it…We hear it everyday, all day long, it is horrible. Absolutely horrific.”
 
Many neighbors moved in decades ago, before I-270 was as noisy as it is today.  They fear the lack of noise barrier will cause their property values to decrease.
 
MODOT St. Louis District Engineer Ed Hassinger says, “The bottom line is, if you get a sound wall you’re happy, if you don’t, you’re not, but it’s all based on fair and equitable criteria that we use.”
 
Hassinger says eight criteria must be met in order to put in a sound wall. Among those: the wall must be able to reduce noise by 5 decibels, and the project can’t cost more than $30,000 per property.  According to MODOT, the homes on Westview don’t qualify, but neighbors aren’t giving up.
 
Westview Avenue resident Larry Lammert says, “What I gathered from the one time MODOT got together with us is that they took readings in one place rather distant from here, and computer modeled it from there. We don’t feel that’s the best way to handle it.”
 
It doesn’t help that several nearby neighborhoods are getting sound walls. Long says, “You can imagine how that feels.”
 
More than anything, the neighbors feel slighted, and want another shot at peace and quiet. Lammert explains, “Anger is building, it’s not right. But you’re fighting the machine and I don’t know what else to do.’
 
Hassinger says MODOT does not plan to do another traffic study on Westview Avenue, but adds that a noise mitigation expert will review the work that’s been done.
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