EAST COUNTY — As the Florida Department of Transportation prepares to improve the intersection of University Parkway and Interstate 75 with a diverging diamond interchange, it also will modify the view along Cattlemen Road.
After determining the interchange improvement would impact noise levels for residences along sections of Cattlemen Road, FDOT now will construct a roughly 1.06-mile sound wall there, stretching from about Richardson Road to just south of Nathan Benderson Park.
FDOT surveyed residents in the Gateway Lakes and San Palermo communities, as well as some private residences in the area, to determine whether to construct the barrier wall. Of 42 homeowners surveyed, 35 voted in favor of the wall.
“The people have spoken,” FDOT District 1 spokesman Robin Stublen said.
Now, FDOT awaits a decision from Sarasota County about the wall’s color and texture. The county also can pay to have customized sound-wall panels, costing up to $20,000 per form, constructed at its expense.
Stublen said federal law requires FDOT to study noise impacts during its planning phase for the intersection.
Stublen said construction of sound walls coincides with roadway improvements. If proposed projects increase noise levels to certain levels, FDOT must survey homeowners about installing a sound barrier.
Homeowners decide whether to proceed.
Residents in the Preserve at Tara have petitioned for a sound barrier from State Road 70 to Linger Lodge Road without success. But, Stublen said, FDOT only considers a noise barrier when there is a modification of an existing roadway. If the noise barrier meets federal and state requirements, it would be constructed with the roadway improvements.
Stublen said FDOT has a design project ongoing for improvements to State Road 70 and I-75, but it is not as far along as the University Parkway/I-75 project.
“A noise study of this area is included with this design project, including a survey of impacted and benefitted residents, just as was done for the I-75 and University design project,” Stublen said. “If a noise barrier for the Preserve at Tara is found during the design process to meet feasibility and cost reasonableness requirements, a survey of impacted and benefited residents will be conducted.”
By the numbers
1.02 In miles, length of proposed sound-wall barrier
20 In feet, typical length of a sound wall panel from center of post to center of post
22 In feet, height of the sound wall
35 Number of residents who indicated they want a sound wall
3.54 million In dollars, estimated cost of the sound wall
Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected]