A tall stone wall is not a welcome replacement for unfettered ocean views, perturbed residents from neighborhoods east of the I-5 off of South El Camino Real said Tuesday evening.
About a dozen residents lobbied the San Clemente City Council to ask CalTrans to halt the I-5 sound wall project. The council obliged, directing staff to ask the California Department of Transportation to call a timeout on the nearly-complete project.
“I don’t remember hearing anything about this,” said Ross Shaw, a 24-year-old area resident. “We just find it absurd and unjustifiable, and it’s costing us each literally hundreds of thousands of dollars in property value.”
The wall, the residents told the council, has knocked hundreds of thousands of dollars off their property values in one fell swoop without noticably reducing freeway noise for the residents west of the I-5—the stated reason for the construction project.
According to the Orange County Register, the wall project will cost $5.3 million and be built along the Camino Real freeway bridge at the Valencia intersection, as well as along another stretch of freeway just south of there.
City Manager George Scarborough said the sound wall project has been in the works since before 2003, prompted by requests from residents west of the freeway for noise reduction.
Residents at the meeting suggested the installation of a see-through acrylic sound barrier that wouldn’t block ocean views as a compromise. Council and staffers said they would work to find a solution, and in the meantime, try to get contractors to stop contruction.