I-95 sound barrier: $5.3 million wall going up

By Peter Shaller - email

JUPITER, FL (WFLX) - It's a local sound problem with a multi-million dollar fix: A $5.3 million wall is going up in Jupiter, a barrier between 1-95 and homes that have been there for decades.

But is the tall wall worth the big bucks?

When its finished, the wall will run from Donald Ross Road to Indiantown Road. It isn't done, but some neighbors have already made up their mind about it.

I-95 is getting bigger through Jupiter, and there's nothing that neighbors like Richard Chatterton can do about it. "Even the ramp noise, as you can hear it go by like that, it sounded like it was in your living room."

But it isn't just his home. An entire neighborhood is now just yards away from the interstate growing from six lanes to ten in this area. That's where the wall comes in. It's 22 feet tall, and, FDOT says, it's designed to bring peace and quiet back to this established neighborhood.

Longtime neighbor John Moore wasn't sure about the new barrier in his backyard, and now he's calling the wall a waste of money. "I just think they could have spent the money on better things."

This one is paid for with a pre-stimulus federal grant.  An FDOT spokeswoman says sound walls are built to protect property values. They will consider putting them in for three reasons: When a roadway is widened, when a new roadway is built, or when the alignment is dramatically changed.

The new wall isn't just keeping the sound out. Some neighbors tell us that another big problem is stranded drivers wandering down into their streets looking for help. "There's no way for them to get in," said one neighbor. "They cant get over the wall or through it, so it's a lot more secure."

"As far as sound and security, it definitely works," another added.

Still, some aren't happy and are reminded of their new wall to the west every night at sunset.

A spokeswoman with the Department of Transportation says there's also talk of widening I-95 into the Treasure Coast north of the Palm Beach County line. They don't expect the same sound issues because most of the land near the highway is clear of homes.