Sound Barriers

Sample sound barriers courtesy of FDOT

As part of the new Ultimate I-4 project (Website | Facebook) the Florida Department of Transportation plans to build sound walls up and down I-4 in  some residential areas including College Park.

At a meeting last night at the College Park Presbyterian Church FDOT staff gave residents an overview of the project and an opportunity to provide feedback on the sound barriers.

As part of the $21 billion project the state is required to offer sound barriers in any area that exceeds 66db which is about equivalent to a noisy restaurant. College Park is one of a handful of areas that will get the sound barriers.

While the six year project will bring I-4 closer to surrounding neighborhoods, the noise won’t increase that much.

“Adding a few more lanes doesn’t add that much more noise. You have to double the traffic to get a 3db increase,” William Walsh, FDOT District 5 Noise Program Coordinator told Bungalower.

If the current I-4 were built today the area would qualify for sound barriers they just weren’t required when I-4 was originally built in the 60’s.

The goal of the meeting last night was to gather public input to determine if residents wanted the barriers. They went over the advantages and disadvantages of the barriers. The advantages are the obvious, potential reduction of noise. The disadvantages included the blocking of sun and wind, the impact to vegetation and concerns about public safety issues.

The barriers in the College Park area will be mounted on the shoulder of the road and will be 15 feet high with the exception of  bridges where they will be eight feet. They will run on the west side of I-4 from Lake Ivanhoe to Fairbanks Ave. They will also be on the east side of I-4 in the the residential areas of Ivanhoe Village south of Princeton St. and also around Fairbanks Ave..

Despite the wall being 15 feet high they won’t block all of the noise. Walsh and other FDOT staff were quick to point out that noise will still travel past the walls and that most of the benefit is within 200 feet of the wall.

None of that would sway any of the residents we spoke to at the meeting to not support of the sound barriers.

“I understand the need I’m thankful they are putting in the wall. It will be beneficial for our neighborhood,” Anne Hovarter whose home backs up to the FDOT right of way told Bungalower.

It’s likely that will be the response from most.

“People who are benefiting form them will get to vote. There isn’t much of a danger for people going against the wall,”  Walsh said.

He expects most residents to be in favor of the walls.

Even so, FDOT wants to make sure everyone’s voice is heard and everyone understands the impact the walls will or won’t gave.

“Before you build something that’s a structure, we want to make sure people know what they are getting,” said Steve Olson, FDOT spokesperson.

Surveys are being mailed to all home owners who qualify to vote. Others can provide feedback at meetings like the one last night.

Because of a mistake in communicating out information about last nights meeting the FDOT plans to have another community meeting about the sound barriers where all of the impacted residents are invited.

Sound Barrier Locations

Location of the sound barriers in the Bungalow Neighborhoods

FDOT Meeting 1

Residents gathered at the College Park Presbyterian Church for last night Ultimate I-4 meeting

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  1. It’s about time!! My home is only a block from I-4 near lake Ivanhoe and the noise is terrible! We’ve needed a sound wall for decades!!!