As the Virginia Department of Transportation continues work to transform Interstate 66 outside the Beltway, adding toll lanes from the Beltway to Gainesville, a homeowner in Fairfax City, Virginia, said what’s happening outside her house is not exactly what she expected.
Amanda Stamp, who lives in the Mosby Woods neighborhood alongside I-66, expected one newly-constructed noise wall between her house and the highway, but instead she’s learned there’ll be three.
“The third wall is being built to overlap the old wall and then to overlap the new wall and that’s their solution … it doesn’t look good … each wall is going to look different, it’s going to look ugly, it’s not going to be safe and I don’t think it’s going to improve the sound quality,” said Stamp, who can see the walls from the back deck of her home.
VDOT explained that the stretch of land along the highway outside Stamp’s house is one of the project corridor’s transition areas, where the old noise wall is remaining and a new noise wall is being built. A third wall will be added to overlap the two.
“This is not a gap in the wall, but rather an overlap that provides transition between the new and old wall,” said Michelle Holland, communications manager for VDOT Megaprojects.
Holland said the overlapping noise walls are necessary not just to mitigate noise from the highway at that location, but also to accommodate an underground bank of electrical and data cables related to the highway’s operations.
The overlap will allow maintenance crews access to the junction bank from the highway and chain link fence will be installed, limiting access between the walls from the residential side.
VDOT said there are other areas in the project corridor with similar configurations.
Stamp said she and her neighbors have struggled to get answers from VDOT about the noise wall plans along the Mosby Woods neighborhood.
“It’s impossible to talk to anyone there, to get any clear answers, every time we get different answers,” Stamp said.
In response to Stamp’s concerns, VDOT is dispatching an I-66 project team to meet with her and at least one other neighbor on Tuesday.
Stamp said that if the situation were ideal, there would be just one noise wall, not three, but she’s encouraged to meet with the VDOT team.
“It’s right in my backyard and I look out at it … what I’d like to do is for them to see it in person … it’s one thing to see it from an aerial photo or from designs, but to actually come and see it in person and to really understand how it looks and how it’s impacting the lives of the people in the community, I think is really important,” Stamp said.
The I-66 Outside the Beltway Project is a public-private partnership between VDOT and I-66 Express Mobility Partners.
Two express lanes in each direction are being added to the highway, and there will be three general purpose lanes in each direction. The Express Lanes are scheduled to open in December 2022.
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