Residents must wait for decision on sound barriers |

Residents must wait for decision on sound barriers

by Lynn Burton
Post Independent Staff

Ranch at Roaring Fork residents must wait a little longer for the Colorado Transportation Commission to act on a policy that could allow them to construct a noise barrier along Highway 82.

The commission tabled noise barrier discussion at its monthly meeting in Denver last Thursday, said Colorado Department of Transportation spokesperson Stacey Stegman.

Commission member Doug Aden said he hopes the board will act on the proposed policy in December, or January at the latest.

The commission held a workshop and public hearing on the policy Wednesday, a day prior to its regular meeting.

“This was the first time the commission has had a formal workshop on the policy,” Aden said. “There was quite a bit of public input, so we wanted to return it to staff.”

The Ranch at Roaring Fork Homeowners Association has asked CDOT to let it build a mile-long noise barrier on state right of way along Highway 82 east of Highway 133.

The department has postponed acting on the Ranch’s application until the commission decides on a policy that addresses such requests.

Last week’s noise barrier workshop and public hearing attracted public comments from elected officials, neighborhood groups and homeowners associations from across the state.

“We had significant input,” Stegman said.

One group of officials represented Vail, where residents have complained about noise from Interstate 70. Another group represented residents along Denver’s Sixth Avenue.

Ranch at Roaring Fork General Manager Chris Ehlers spoke at the commission’s noise barrier workshop.

“I’m told it was a constructive meeting,” said Ranch at Roaring Fork Homeowners Association president Thomas Neel. “We’d be happy if the commission approved a policy sooner rather than later, but we’re pleased they are looking into our comments.”

CDOT’s draft policy calls for locally funded noise barriers to be built on private property, rather than state property.

“Locally funded noise barrier projects may be placed on public rights of way only if … no other reasonable alternative to the use of public property is available,” the draft policy reads.

The Ranch at Roaring Fork Homeowners Association has said it owns land along Highway 82 where a noise barrier could be built. Such a barrier would have to be 20 feet high rather than 12 feet on state right of way, because it is further from the road, and the taller wall would not be aesthetically viable, Neel has said.

The 20-foot barrier would also cost more than the homeowners association can afford, Neel said.

Stegman said federal regulations require noise barriers on new highways that affect neighborhoods, but not on existing highways.

Contact Lynn Burton: 945-8515, ext. 534

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