By Tom Mustin
HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. (CBS4) – This summer the Colorado Department of Transportation is expanding a 13-mile stretch of C-470 from Kipling to Interstate 25. Now some Highlands Ranch neighbors are filing a federal lawsuit to have sound barriers placed in their neighborhood.
Highlands Ranch resident September Oslund has had it with the traffic noise outside of her home.
“It gets really, really loud,” she told CBS4’s Tom Mustin.
For 14 years Oslund has lived off C-470 and University. Traffic flows about 200 yards from her backyard. The noise and traffic have increased steadily.
“We sit out here on our back porch on the weekends and can’t even have a conversation” she said.
This summer CDOT is expanding C-470 to eight lanes outside her home without putting up any noise barriers. Oslund is worried her property value and quality of life will decrease. She’s part of the Highlands Ranch Neighborhood Coalition that is suing CDOT and the Federal Highway Administration to put up noise walls.
“When CDOT said they’re not going to put the wall up it was like, ‘What? What do you mean you’re going to expand the highway and not put the wall up? I mean the highway is going to be even closer and it’s bad enough now,” Oslund said.
CDOT had originally planned to put up barriers near Tuesday’s home, but new noise level tests showed the barriers — which would cost millions of dollars — would not be effective.
“In this instance we believe that where they’re looking to do noise barriers, based on federal rules, is not something that is necessary or frankly would even be effective,” said CDOT’s Amy Ford.
Coalition president Carter Sales says CDOT has admitted the noise level in the area is higher than they predicted. He says studies show up to a 5 decibel increase after the highway expansion.
“Noise is noise,” said Sales. “Even noise we have now is in excess of what their model predicted after the highway is expanded, and that’s not right.”
With neighbors hopping mad, a judge will now decide if the road to expansion will be silenced.
CDOT is planning to begin the multi-million dollar expansion sometime this summer. The court date for the lawsuit has not been set.