Residents near I-20 construction want protection from noise, accidents

By: Diane Cho
By: Diane Cho

The construction work on I-20 is not music to the ears of the neighbors along the interstate.

Neighbors along Skinner Mill Road, just behind all the construction work, say they need some type of barrier before it gets worse.

Driving through a construction zone is always a nuisance, but imagine having to hear it and see it 24 hours a day.

Just beyond the traffic and dust sits Jimmy Heath's house...a far cry from the view he once had.

"Trees went back about 35 feet," Heath says.

That was before the DOT started this construction behind his house on I-20. His once very private view has become a lot more like living in a fish bowl.

"We can't enjoy any activities on the porch, not even carry out a conversation...we may as well go out between the lanes and have a picnic."

But that's not the only concern.

"My children play here," Heath says. "There's no barrier to protect them from 80 miles per hour coming into the backyard."

The only thing separating his house from the construction and highway is a wire fence...and that's what worries him.

"Woke up today with an accident on I-20 20 till 6 am...my wife was in dead sleep, she said, 'What's that?' I said, 'Another wreck...call 911'."

Everyone's heard the expression to be so close you can reach out and touch it, but to the Heath family it was given a whole new meaning.

"We're asking DOT to help the people in this area enjoy their home life a little more," says Heath.

For now things seem pretty quiet but at night he says the sound meter is pinging.

"We get over 80 decibels especially from tractor-trailers when traffic is at full flow," Heath says.

The DOT tells us preliminary sound studies are being conducted to measure just loud it is and to see if the sound barrier is really needed.

It needs to be at 69 decibels for residential areas. It also has to be cost effective and a benefit of five decibels.

"Anything is better than nothing," Heath says.

Heath is hoping the DOT won't turn a deaf ear to what he has to deal with everyday.

The DOT says that more than likely, a sound barrier will be going up near the Crane's Creek area...the question is just where and how far will it extend.


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