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I-5 Wall Obliterates Ocean Views, Home Values, Residents Say

About a dozen residents from neighborhoods east of the new I-5 construction asked council to call for a timeout on the CalTrans project.

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.

Cathy Chrislip Gronau October 20, 2011 at 12:48 AM
You've GOT to be kidding me! We NEED these sound walls built. This town is going to the birds! What is the matter with people? Have they lost their common sense? They have stopped SO many projects that have been badly needed. The Ralphs Grocery Store, Marblehead Coastal, the Toll Road and now the sound walls? We desperately need these sound walls as the freeway sounds like a race track on a daily basis. Try cutting down the overgrown trees if you want your views back! Instead they let them grow over the streets, tearing up our roads and taking up precious space for sidewalks. Unbelievable.
Kathleen Ward October 20, 2011 at 03:31 AM
The sound wall on the entire bridge IS see-through, so as not to block views. Also the most important reason for building this wall is vehicles were flying over the side and landing in the neighborhood.
Tom Crandell November 28, 2011 at 01:15 PM
I live on the west side of the freeway and I think the wall has increased the sound in my neighborhood. The wall is acting as a speaker. I think it is poor planning again, what a surprise
Tom Crandell November 28, 2011 at 01:22 PM
I actually meant to say that I live on the east side of the freeway. I really hope they are planning to put a wall on the east side of the freeway to stop the sound from reverberating through my neighborhood.
Cathy Chrislip Gronau November 28, 2011 at 05:53 PM
I have lived on the west side for nearly 30 years now and last night I heard the waves once again. It has been a long time but the sound walls are doing their job; thank you, thank you, thank you! I believe that we must complete the toll road soon and look to future alternatives for transportation such as hydrofoil or air cushion shuttle boats. Wouldn't that be nice to travel from San Diego to northern California by boat? We need more routes of travel, period. Everyone knows that on every single weekend during the summer the 5 Freeway is at a stand still both ways going through San Clemente and it is only going to get worse in the very near future. Soon it will be like that year round. For example, just think when Marblehead Coastal is completed with 300 new homes, an outlet center, shops and theaters? The number one and two lanes of the 5 Freeway are currently occupied daily with huge trucks traveling from San Diego to Los Angeles and we have major accidents monthly. To go to the movies, which is approximately 2 miles away from my home, I have to either leave about 20 minutes early and hold my breath driving on the freeway or take the back streets because of traffic. The toll road is long overdue and so are the sound walls and other alternatives. Thank you CalTrans and San Clemente City Council for continuing this project.
Kathleen Ward November 28, 2011 at 07:22 PM
The Marblehead project no longer includes the movie theaters. I'm not sure if anything else has been eliminated. Maybe it's time for an article on what the proposed project does include?
Diana Horal December 18, 2011 at 08:34 PM
Air cushioned shuttle boats!!! The improvements to the city must be good for all residents. We live here for the views, peace, ocean sounds and the environmentally conscious environment. I'm all for conserving the environment and preserving the dreams of the original founders of San Clemente. We should have some growth and we have had some much needed remodeling within the city, but realistically we are not functionally capable of diverting railways to flood the city. For what? to increase the sales on del mar? to bring vacationers here to share the waves at lowers, trestles, old mans? or to share our non existent bike trails? We need make modifications within for the residents first and then think about reaching out.

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