Janesville residents weigh in on interstate sound barrier

JANESVILLE, Wis. (WMTV) -- Residents on Somerset Drive in Janesville have been directly affected by the sound barrier built for the I-39/90 Expansion Project, which aims to muffle the noise of the passing traffic.

The I-39/90 Expansion Project is designed to alleviate traffic problems on the roadway by reconstructing about 45 miles of interstate, according to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation website. With the project increasing the amount of lanes on the road, a sound barrier has also been constructed to quiet the noise.

Betty Gauldin has lived on Somerset Drive for about 40 years, and said that before the wall that has been constructed between her backyard and the interstate, the noise was a problem.

"If I'm sitting out on the back deck, you can't hear the person sitting next to you talking," she said.

However, Gauldin said the wall has been an improvement.

"I have family from out of town and they came and said 'geez it's so quiet in here,' so whatever they've done it's worked," she said.

Gauldin also said that the wall has an additional purpose other than just maintaining her peace and quiet.

"You have some people in the backyard if something happened on the interstate, they'd come down, crawl over the fence, and come into the backyard," she said. "Or they would enter from down on Milwaukee Street and walk behind the houses. I feel much more secure with it."

Gauldin's home is a few houses down from the corner of Somerset Drive and Milwaukee Street. However, for Dan Lawson, who lives one house down from the corner, the bridge over Milwaukee Street could be an issue.

"We're just maybe 700 feet from the bridge nearby," he said. "So it's one of those things where the bridge won't have any type of barrier so there will be some sound."

For Dustin Glenn, who lives farther up the street and whose home does not back up onto the interstate, the sound barrier has been effective.

"My dogs would hear it and obviously it would startle them," Glenn said of the construction and truck noise. "But that hasn't happened in a couple of months."

For Gauldin, the barrier has been a welcome change.

"I feel like I'm living in a different place," she said. "It looks so much nicer."