Home / World News / C-470 noise prompts opposite reactions from two neighborhoods – The Denver Post

C-470 noise prompts opposite reactions from two neighborhoods – The Denver Post

Dozens of homeowners living along C-470 in Highlands Ranch desperately want a wall built to block escalating noise from a soon-to-be expanded highway just beyond their backyards.

They aren’t getting one.

Six miles down the highway, a smaller group of residents is adamantly opposed to a sound wall blocking their view of the foothills and sun-dappled waters of Chatfield Reservoir.

Construction of a 15-foot-tall concrete barrier got underway on their stretch of C-470 last week.

“Where can you buy a view like this?” said Ralph Miller, who has been watching sailboats skim the reservoir’s waters from his home on South Otis Court for the past 15 years. “I just can’t believe this is happening.”

The irony of the situation isn’t lost on the Colorado Department of Transportation, which is in charge of the $276 million expansion of C-470 through Denver’s southern suburbs. The project, which is expected to wrap in late 2019, will add up to three toll lanes to a 12.5-mile stretch of the often traffic-clogged road between Wadsworth Boulevard and Interstate 25.

CDOT spokeswoman Amy Ford said the juxtaposition created by the dueling desires on a wall isn’t some cruel trick by the state’s road-building agency to provide one to a neighborhood that doesn’t want it and deny one to a neighborhood that does.

Neighbors Loren Gundersen, left, and Ralph ...

Andy Cross, The Denver Post

Neighbors Loren Gunderson, left, and Ralph Miller talk on Miller’s land, about a stretch of C-470 under construction for a widening project that includes a 15-foot-tall, concrete noise-barrier wall, just north of Chatfield Reservoir Nov. 30, 2017. Both are upset with the impending wall saying that it will block views of Chatfield reservoir and mountains.

Sound mitigation, she said, is a scientific process in which noise along C-470 is measured and federal regulations designed to minimize a highway’s disruption are followed. It’s not an approach that pleases everyone on the highway’s periphery, she admitted.

“It’s a very tricky balance,” Ford said Thursday. “There are so many things we want to balance when we do a project like this.”

At its most basic, she said, sound studies showed that a wall wasn’t needed along the south side of C-470 between University Boulevard and Quebec Street but was on the north side of the highway near Chatfield Reservoir.

That determination prompted a group of Highlands Ranch neighbors last year to sue CDOT and the Federal Highway Administration for what it says was a “fatally flawed” study of the projected noise from the road-widening project.

The group, the Highlands Ranch Neighborhood Coalition, demanded the project be stopped until proper noise tests are conducted. Last month, U.S. District Judge Raymond P. Moore ruled that CDOT’s noise study results were “arbitrary and capricious” and sent the matter back to state and federal highway officials for “further consideration.”

The coalition’s president, Carter Sales, said in the meantime the project goes on with little regard to protecting quality of life for Highlands Ranch residents.

“We’ve got more traffic, more noise,” he said, noting the torrid rate of growth in the area since the 26-mile highway first went operational in the 1980s.

It’s noise that Susan Ranero has tolerated in the 16 years she has lived on South Mallard Place but fears it getting so much worse when an additional three lanes of traffic are running about 100 yards behind her home.

“I personally love to be outside,” the 57-year-old native New Yorker said as she stood on her back deck Thursday. “In the summer, I have my little sanctuary here. I’m going to lose that.”

The ruckus from C-470 has worsened in the past two months since a sound wall on the opposite side of the highway went up, deflecting traffic noise back toward her house, she said.

“I wish I could just pick up my house and put it somewhere else,” Ranero said.

Back on South Otis Court, Loren Gunderson said he’ll take noise over the loss of his view any day. The 27-year south Jefferson County resident said he sound-proofed his home so he can gaze upon the reservoir’s changing hues in tranquility.

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