March 19, 2007
COLUMBIA CTY, Ga.---Life will soon be a lot quieter for many people in Columbia County who live near I-20. The Georgia House has approved an $8 million project to build sound barriers.
It's a project close to four years in the making, and people living in the area say it's about time
"It's intolerable," said Mary Rushing. "We really needed it. Every time I get a phone call from my children, they're like, 'What is all that noise in the background?'"
The bill will fund sound barriers along I-20 near Columbia County's Belair Road exit.
It's news Mary has waited for since she moved into the Belair Pines neighborhood four years ago.
"Very excited," she said. "We've been waiting for this a long time, and God bless the man who got it through."
That man is State Representative Ben Harbin.
His office says the $8 million Georgia Department of Transportation project will build concrete panels to block the sound of traffic. The barrier will stretch for close to two miles along I-20 both north and south near the Belair Road exit.
Betty Hodges also lives in Belair Pines.
"It does really bother you, because you can't really talk or carry on conversation because of the noise. Especially the trucks," she said.
Betty says she will spend her newfound quiet time out on her swing, something she hasn't done in more than three years.
"Well, it was a long time, but I'm just happy it's really going to happen," she said.
Belair Pines isn't the only neighborhood hearing some relief. The project will also affect Crawford Mill, Belgrade, Caliburn Place, and on the southside, Valley Brook subdivision and Old Wheeler Court.
This is just one more construction project in a long line for I-20. Project organizers hope to have it completed in a year. As of now, they'll break ground on the sound wall mid to late summer.