Altadena Woods Homeowner's Association

Traffic Noise from I-459

Posted in: Altadena Woods
We love this neighborhood and love living in Hoover. But...does the traffic noise coming off I-459 bother anyone else? Over the 12 years we've lived here it has steadily gotten worse. I thought having roughly 1/2 mile of forest between us and the highway would help but it seems to have more to do with the wind direction, given that some days it is mostly quiet and then others it is quite loud, regardless of whether the leaves are on the trees or not. It's very distracting from an otherwise calm and serene setting.

I'm concerned this could also have a negative impact on our property values.

I was wondering if some type of noise barrier along this highway would help protect us all from the stress of noise pollution? I have seen this done in other cities in attractive ways using various materials.

What do you think?
Traffic Noise from I-459

Vicki, as President of the Association, and one who lives on the Cahaba CREST with the back of our home facing the interstate, I do know that the noise is considerably more noticeable in the winter when the trees are bare. I would encourage everyone to use this forum to express their views, and will assure you that this topic will be a part of future AWHA Board Meetings (as will all topics of discussion on this site.)
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  • evajay
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I live in Vestavia Hills.  My home is located just off the Liberty Parkway exit of

I-459.  I have been complaining about the traffic noise since early 2007.  I have lived here since 1990.  The excessive noise problem started when the Alabama Department of Transportation started forcing all 18-wheelers to travel I-459 (except those going to I-65 North).

The people in my neighborhood are very upset about it.  Houses on my street have been on the market for more than two years without selling.  I had my house on the market in 2007 for 10 months.  It was handled by two different realtors.  Each agent told me the primary reason my house wasn't selling was due to the loud road noise on I-459.

I wrote several letters for over a year  (2009-2010) to D.W. Vaughan Deputy Director of the Alabama Dept of Transportation, complaining about the noise. They sent an engineer to my home to do sound tests, and informed me the noise level was 66, and that the guideline limit was 67.  The engineer came during the mid-day lunch period, when many drivers have stopped to eat lunch.  Mr. Vaughan told me in a letter since 66 was on the "threshold", no abatement was required.  Have any of you ever seen any sound abatement structures on Alabama interstates?  I haven't.  The Alabama Department of Transportation has refused to do anything I've requested...from letting the 18-wheelers go through downtown Birmingham again, to buying me out so I could get away from the noise, to erecting sound abatement, etc.  My last request was that they at least lower the speed limit for cars to 65mph and trucks to 55mph, hoping that would help to lower the noise level.  They refused to do that.  Mr. Vaughan told me in a letter he wrote me in November 2009 that they were pursuing repaving I-459 with a paving material which would significantly reduce the noise level, and that the repaving would take place within the year.  That's never happened. So I continue to have to deal with not only the noise, but the vibrations from the trucks, causing my windows to rattle, hung pictures constantly being skewed, etc.  Twice I've had to have cracks repaired in my fireplace floor.  The gentleman who repaired it this last time said the cracks were caused by vibrations to the house.

The new railroad terminal that's being built in McCalla, according to an article in The Birmingham News Friday, Dec. 31, will handle 400 trucks a day!  Imagine what impact that's going to have on the I-459 traffic situation, as well as the air quality.

I have complained to Vestavia Hills Mayor Zaragoza, and I've called the Federal Highway Administration's Division office in Montgomery, and spoke with Mark Bartlett.  I was told by the FHWA office in Washington that the Alabama Department of Transportation could not have diverted the 18-wheelers down I-459 without obtaining permission from the FHWA division office in Montgomery.  When I questioned Mr. Bartlett about that, he was very vague, saying he wasn't working there at the time the trucks got diverted.  He offered to call Brian Davis at ALDOT to find out when the repaving was going to be done, and to see if he would have more sound tests done.  Mr. Bartlett never called me back, and he won't return any of my calls. 

Mayor Zaragoza came to my home in May of last year, and told me he would call ALDOT.  When I called him a few weeks later to follow up on that he said he hadn't heard back from Montgomery, but would call them and call me back.  He never called me back, and he wouldn't return any of my phone calls after that.

No one will help.  I hope more people who live along I-459 will read these posts and offer their comments.  Something definitely needs to be done about this problem, and I've done all I know to do.

Any suggestions?

 

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