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Residents Burned By Sound Walls Stress Over I-5 Project

Three phases of an I-5 carpool lane and interchange project planned for North San Clemente raise hackles among some residents in the south end of town.

South San Clemente residents who say have the same fears about a freeway widening and interchange project in the north end of town.

Representatives from the Orange County Transportation Authority Tuesday presented the council with a project report on big I-5 carpool lane additions and the upcoming that comprise roughly $200 million worth of investment in the freeway.

The first project consists of improving the I-5/Avenida Pico interchange, which is expected to break ground in 2014. The two other phases of the project include adding carpool lanes from where they currently end in San Juan Capistrano all the way down to the Pico exit, according to the OCTA's Hamid Torkamanha.

The south San Clemente residents expressed concern with regards to the five sound walls connected with the project. Four already exist and will be moved back as far as necessary to widen the road bed, but the fifth will be a new wall that runs through the Shorecliffs community, Torkamanha said.

Don Krall, owner of the Little Inn by the Beach, said the increased noise and blocked views from the south San Clemente sound wall were costing his business as much as $1 million per year.

"I really don't want to see anyone get hurt by a wall that no one had a say on," he told the council. "This wall invaded my business."

Julie Toledo, a spokeswoman for the OCTA, responded by saying that  to inform them of the project plans.

San Clemente City Council directed staff to reach out to residents in the city to augment the OCTA's efforts. The project will be further discussed at the council meeting at 6 p.m. Aug. 21 in council chambers, 100 Ave. Presidio.

Correction: Because of a reporting error, the date of ground-breaking on the Pico interchange phase of the OCTA project was misstated in an earlier version of this article. Patch regrets the error.

wschrimp July 04, 2012 at 04:04 PM
Can someone please explain why our tax dollars are used to put up sound walls for homes and communities that are along highways? The buyers new exactly where they were buying. If you buy a home or rent and apartment next to a highway or busy street, you know that it is going to be noisey and if you have any sense at all you know it will get even noisier in the future. So why does Caltrans spend millions of dollars each year on contructing these sound walls, or the better question is why are we letting them?
Kathy July 04, 2012 at 04:20 PM
The change in dynamics of the freeway with more lanes increasing noise and sound affects to adjacent properties, those people have a valid claim to want to have those changes make as little impact on them...and no I do not live in an area affected by this.
Lindsey Hanson July 04, 2012 at 04:29 PM
Like the sound of the train along the coast, the freeway noise comes with the territory. It is also a sound you can get used to. Having once lived near the tracks at the beach the once overwhelming sound became white noise. I never heard it. Furthermore I think the clear sound wall is over the top accommodating. Perhaps the view concerns which sparked the glass wall may be in fact the sound refactor.
george gregory July 05, 2012 at 03:01 PM
dont stop widening the 5 at pico push it all the way thru or we'll have a traffic jam at pico
Tom Crandell July 05, 2012 at 03:22 PM
Living on the east side of the 5 freeway the noise has been greatly increased. Poor planning by both caltrans and the city. A wall needs to be the same height on both sides of the freeway to be effective. I seems so obvious yet again an epic fail!!!
wschrimp July 05, 2012 at 03:24 PM
If any person purchases or rents a home anyway near a freeway, then they have to expect the noise, and that there is a good chance that it will get worse. Freeways are always expanding and always getting noisier. There is no valid "noise" complaint if you live next to a freeway. That is unless they ram a project such as the toll road thru your back yard. Even there, when you purchase your house, it came with a set of documents that disclosed the possible land use near the home. So if you still chose to purchase a home there, then you accepted the noise. Sound walls are a giant waste of tax payer dollars. I cannot remember the millions upon millions of dollars being spent on these walls, ever voted on. When more money is given to Caltran, it should be for the roads and bridges, and not these walls.
Rob July 05, 2012 at 07:58 PM
Walls = When people buy/bought along the highway corridor, they did so with the related noise issues present. However, if the State is/has engaged in a process to increase that noise level, of if regs have changed that do not allow them to alter the road w/o addressing this issue, then the people have every right to gain the wall. I do not live near the freeway, but the 72 sliver is fairly small and a loss in values has a rippling effect. I believe the govt needs to address these grievances.
Diana Horal July 05, 2012 at 09:50 PM
I did buy kind of close to the freeway ( but not really) and do expect to hear it, but with the west side wall construction the sound is exentuated. Please consider the construction of the east side wall that will as I understand, prevent the sound from echoing up the canyon.
SoundFighter July 09, 2012 at 03:45 PM
Does anyone know if these walls are sound walls are Absortive Sound Walls, or Reflective sound walls? Unfortunately, If they are not Sound Absorptive, they will just create more noise ~ even if they construct walls on both sides.

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