South side homeowners thrilled with INDOT's planned addition of sound wall barriers

Lawmaker: Thousands of homeowners impacted

INDIANAPOLIS - The Indiana Department of Transportation is changing its plans for sound walls on the south side near Interstate 465 and Interstate 65 as part of "Operation Indy Commute."

"I'm extremely excited," said Moss Creek resident Scott Whitlock. "I feel like we won something."

According to a June 10 letter to state lawmakers, INDOT will now include a sound barrier in front of the Moss Creek subdivision from the Buck Creek Floodway to 1,000 feet beyond Gray Road.

The plans are part of "Operation Indy Commute ," which aims to alleviate bottlenecking.

INDOT did not originally include Moss Creek in its plans, angering residents and calling lawmakers Rep. Mike Speedy and Sen. Pat Miller to take action.

Residents also gathered a petition with hundreds of signatures and testified before the House Ways and Means committee .

"INDOT plans to remove all the sound walls from the contract that will let this summer and move it to a separate contract to be let in 2014," read the June 10 INDOT letter to Rep. Mike Speedy, R-Indianapolis. "This will allow the Department to receive more cost-effective bids when they are not coupled with the entire project. This letting will also include the additional walls not initially included in the project."

According to the agency's letter to lawmakers, sound walls will be installed at the following locations:

  • Eastbound and westbound I-465 from Sherman Drive to Emerson Avenue
  • Along the northeast and southwest sides of the interchange
  • Along I-65 southbound from the I-465 interchange to just south of Thompson Road
  • Along I-65 southbound north of Edgewood Avenue to Gray Road
  • Along I-65 northbound from the I-465 interchange to the Buck Creek Floodway, approximately 1,000 feet beyond Gray Road

Speedy told RTV6 Monday the additional sound wall would directly impact hundreds of homeowners and affect property values for thousands.

The INDOT letter includes a sound wall in front of the I-65 southbound portion of the Lindbergh Highlands neighborhood, which was split when the interstate was constructed.

"Let's just say I'll believe it when I see it," said Tom Maier, a Lindbergh Highlands resident whose home was built in 1935.

"I'm grateful they listened to the constituents and took a closer look at the sound studies and found a creative way to fit the walls within the budget," said Speedy, who lives in Moss Creek.

Moss Creek was built in 1991, after the interstate was constructed, but residents say the noise has become a lot worse over the past 20 years.

"With a growth in traffic comes a growth in the noise level," said Jack Finney, who moved into Moss Creek in 1993. "We knew the noise was a factor, but back then it was a tolerable level."

Last year INDOT told RTV6 they planned to spend $3.8 million on sound barriers for the project, but it's unclear whether the addition of a Moss Creek sound barrier will impact the overall cost.

"I think it's good for the city," said Moss Creek resident Scott Whitlock. "I'm really looking forward to being in the backyard, having a conversation with somebody, and not feeling like I'm on the mound screaming to an outfielder."

"I hope my wife can call me from the side porch and I can hear her," said Finney. "I think it's going to be a lot more peaceful and a lot more pleasant place to live."

INDOT plans to hold a public hearing later this year to go over the proposed walls and construction process.

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

Follow Kara Kenney on Twitter: @karakenney6 | Facebook: KaraKenneyNews

 

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