CALDWELL — The Idaho Transportation Department is making plans for three new noise walls along Interstate 84 in Caldwell.
The department had proposed four noise walls, but only three were approved by property owners near the interstate, who were asked to vote on whether they supported it, ITD said in a news release Monday. For a noise wall to be approved, more than 50% of property owners needed to vote in support, according to department policy.
“The decision whether or not to build noise walls belongs to those adjacent owners and residents who are shown to be affected by future traffic noise,” ITD Transportation Program Manager Amy Schroeder said in the press release.
The noise walls that were approved will be placed along eastbound I-84 adjacent to Indian Creek Estates, along the westbound on-ramp at Franklin Road, and along westbound I-84 between Centennial Way and 10th Avenue. A fourth noise wall along eastbound I-84 between Centennial Way and 10th Avenue was not approved by enough property owners.
ITD spokesman Jake Melder said the first two walls are funded through ITD’s $180 million project to improve I-84 between Karcher Road and Franklin Road, and are expected to cost about $4.7 million collectively. The third wall, which is expected to cost more than $1.6 million, is not funded yet, but will fall under ITD’s project to improve the corridor between Franklin Road and Centennial Way.
Caldwell City Council voted 5-0 in August to put 19 votes against a noise wall, which accounted for the city’s ownership of Lions Park. Caldwell Mayor Garret Nancolas said the council voted no on the proposed noise wall because they agreed the barrier would have a negative impact on the nearby businesses by blocking I-84 motorists’ view of the storefronts.
Business owners along that stretch agreed. Carol and Albert Moore, owners of Carol’s Barber and Style, which is visible next to Exit 27, wrote in a comment at ITD’s June open house that some of their customers came in after seeing the shop from the freeway, the Idaho Press previously reported.
A letter from Imperial Taxidermy to ITD stated: “I urge you abandon this crazy notion, and take action on repairing a deteriorating highway and freeway system.”
The consideration of noise barriers is part of ITD’s ongoing environmental study to determine potential improvements in Caldwell. ITD’s analysis of noise walls shows that it’s feasible and reasonable to have 13-foot noise walls on both sides of the freeway, the Idaho Press previously reported. ITD has already built some sound walls along parts of I-84 in Boise between the Broadway exit and Five Mile Road.
The walls will be designed using concrete panels between 12 feet and 16 feet tall. ITD is investing more than $330 million into Interstate 84 in Canyon County over the next several years. Several construction projects are currently ongoing in Nampa to widen the interstate and are planned through 2020.
The public is invited to ask questions about the noise walls between 4:30 and 6:30 p.m. Oct. 17 at the Caldwell Best Western, 908 Specht Ave.