Sound from traffic on Highway 151 keeping you up at night? You may just want to invest in some earplugs, because a noise barrier wall isn’t expected to built anytime soon.
District 2 Alder Bill Connors and city staff were gung-ho on asking the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to evaluate the noise levels to see if a wall could be built. But that was until they found out that the state and the federal government are not allocating any funding to noise barrier walls right now.
“Even if we could quality, there is no money,” Connors said at the May 7 Committee of the Whole, where he brought up the proposal for discussion.
Connors looked into the idea after residents contacted him about possible solutions to the highway noise.
Noise barrier walls, like the ones at I-39/90/94 at Cottage Grove Road near Madison and other spots, are evaluated and reviewed by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) after a certain noise decibel is reached.
Noise barrier walls are usually put up when highway reconstructions are done— but none are planned for the local stretch of Highway 151.
And there’s also no money for projects that are part of a federal requirement for state highway agencies to determine noise impact and find mitigation solutions. WisDOT cost estimates for the walls are $2.2 million per mile. WisDOT official Jay Waldschmidt said stand-alone noise barrier wall projects haven’t been funded for 12 years.