Neighbors ask for $9M in sound barriers for I-65 expansion

INDOT plans to add lanes to address bottlenecking

INDIANAPOLIS - Residents on Indianapolis' south side are angry about an Interstate 65 expansion project they say will hurt their ears.

On Wednesday, residents, along with Rep. Mike Speedy, R-Indianapolis, testified before the House Ways and Means Committee and asked for up to $9 million to be allocated for additional sound barriers.

As part of "Operation Indy Commute", the Indiana Department of Transportation is planning to add lanes at Interstate 465 and I-65 on the south side in an effort to address bottlenecking.

INDOT plans to include two miles, roughly $3.8 million worth, of sound barriers along the project.

"Some neighborhoods may get them and some may not," INDOT spokesman Will Wingfield said.

That decision is angering residents who live in Moss Creek and Lindbergh Highlands, two neighborhoods near I-65 and I-465, and some say INDOT should include sound walls by their homes.

"We're very fearful the amount of noise generated is just going to explode," said Jack Finney, a 19-year resident of Moss Creek. "It's already a nuisance. I can not talk to my wife on the porch on one side or the other unless we move closer together."

Finney testified before lawmakers Wednesday and asked them to consider allocating more funding for sound barriers.

"We always knew noise was a factor, but over the years the noise has risen significantly, and now the state is proposing widening I-65 which is going to add 30 percent more traffic," Finney said.

While Moss Creek was built after I-65, Lindbergh Highlands was in place before the interstate.

The committee did not make a decision Wednesday, and Speedy said the budget process won’t become final until at least April.

Speedy lives in Moss Creek.

"It's hard to say what will happen, but we have to participate in the process," Speedy said. "We have to make our best arguments. And I have to continue to work behind the scenes to show this is a once-in-a-generation impact and I want to convey that message over and over again."

INDOT said they consider federal guidelines, cost effectiveness and population density and noise studies.

"We're looking at all available avenues to us as we work with the neighborhoods," Wingfield said. "Essentially, those neighborhoods that are more densely developed make it more cost effective for a noise abatement to be put in place."

The $45 million project is expected to begin construction next year and wrap in 2014.

For more information on the project, click here .

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