New Walls Expected To Reduce Highway Noise


By: Diane Turner-Hurns
Journal & Topics Reporter

Not only are new bridges, expanded roadways and landscaping part of the massive Jane Addams Tollway (I-90) widening project taking place in Rosemont and further west, but special soundproofing walls are being installed along the highway to reduce traffic noise.

According to Illinois Tollway officials, the state agency has installed approximately 75% of a new noise wall on the eastbound side of I-90 in Rosemont, which will extend from just west of Higgins Road to Ruby Street.

Tollway officials said last week that the remaining portion of the noise wall scheduled to be complete by the end of 2015 includes the portion on the Higgins bridge near Scott Street and completion of a few remaining gaps.

“In addition, the new roadway will include a new barrier wall to the east and west of the new noise wall where previously there was a guardrail in place, to accommodate the roadway widening and ensure drivers' safety,” said tollway spokeswoman Joelle McGinnis.

“The noise wall will be approximately 13-feet-6-inches tall and benefit approximately 40 residences adjacent to I-90.

“As part of the master planning process for the I-90 Rebuilding and Widening Project, and in working with Rosemont officials in early 2012, it was requested the tollway install the noise wall from Higgins Road to Ruby Street, near Rosemont Elementary School,” McGinnis said.

Transportation officials say noise walls are free-standing barriers built parallel to a highway and usually made of concrete. The walls can range in height from six to 20 feet but are usually 12 to 15 feet tall.

As the wall construction continues on I-90 at the Higgins Road bridge near Scott, questions have arisen whether motorists traveling on I-90 will be able to view Rosemont’s annual holiday light decorations as they pass Donald E. Stephens Park at Higgins and Scott Street. The park is known to feature a spectacular holiday light display including the community Christmas tree.

“As far as we can tell at this time, it looks like those traveling on I-90, once the noise walls are installed, may not be able to see all of the lights,” said Rosemont Public Works Director Michael Raimondi. “It may be difficult for those traveling on I-90 to see the display as they pass over Higgins Road and Scott Street.”

Rosemont Public Works is in the process of installing more than one million lights and thousands of holiday decorations in and around Rosemont. The holiday light display will be turned on throughout the Village Friday, Nov. 27, just after Thanksgiving, and on Sunday, Nov. 29 in Stephens Park.

And with the new noise walls, some Rosemont residents may get the gift of quiet this holiday season as well as a spectacular light display.

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