Some hope offered for I-376 noise barrier in Green Tree

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There was good news and bad news for Green Tree residents who live on Parkedge Road and who want the state to erect a sound barrier to buffer them from heavy traffic noise on the Parkway West (Interstate 376).

There was, perhaps, a glimmer of hope but no promises made when Pennsylvania Department of Transportation officials met with borough officials and about 70 residents.

The good news is that "noise walls, sound walls have been on PennDOT radar for 10 years," said Dan Cessna, district executive. He had more good news, stating that an $8 million to $10 million noise barrier could be part of a larger parkway improvement project that PennDOT hopes to advance.

The bad news is that currently there is no money to fund the barrier and other improvements to the Parkway West from Green Tree to Carnegie.

In June, the state Senate passed a $2.5 billion transportation funding bill. The House has yet to bring the issue to a vote and no vote is scheduled.

If state legislators approved the funding in the near future, "about three years is the best case" timetable for having the noise barrier built, Mr. Cessna said. "If they do not pass the budget, the sky's the limit" for how long it would take.

Actually, getting the meeting with PennDOT "was a small victory," said Ron Panza, a member of borough council for 18 years and president of the Parkway Sound Barrier Task Force. Much of the credit for getting the meeting, he said, goes to state Rep. Dan Miller, D-Mt. Lebanon. The task force has 90 residents on its email list, Mr. Panza said, and has been in existence for one year.

Parkedge runs parallel to the Parkway West and is about one mile long, said Mr. Panza, who does not live on that street. The homes were built in the 1950s and 1960s when traffic was much lighter, he said.

Residents at the meeting said the noise is unbearable and they can't sleep. If the project receives state funding, PennDOT would have to do a study to verify that the noise levels are high, Mr. Cessna said. Then residents would be asked to vote for or against the sound barrier.

In other parts of the state, residents have voted against such barriers -- perhaps, he suggested, because they would rather look out their windows and see a highway than a tall concrete barrier.

Mr. Cessna advised residents to "let your state representatives know how important these projects are to you."

Linda Wilson Fuoco: lfuoco@post-gazette.com or 412-722-0087.


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