For six years, residents of Hallcrest Heights in McLean have been fighting for the construction of a sound barrier between their neighborhood and the Dulles Toll Road. Now, with the construction of the Dulles Corridor Metro on the horizon, the need for such a sound barrier is even more urgent.
"With the new Metrorail line planned to be elevated at 40 feet and curving into Tysons at just our location, the prospect of more noise and the sight of an elevated rail line compounds our problem," said Clark Tyler, President of the Hallcrest Heights Homeowners Association (HOA).
On Saturday morning, Jan. 7, at the Fairfax County Government Center, local legislators held a public hearing on the upcoming General Assembly session. Citizens were able to go before their local delegates and request new and continued funding for their desired causes. Tyler and several other Hallcrest Heights residents signed up for 3-minute speaking slots, and asked local delegates to follow up on last year's budget amendment which included a provision that required the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) to come up with an estimate for a sound barrier. That estimate was $346,384.
"Given the total cost of the extension of Metrorail to Dulles and beyond, [it] is not an unreasonable amount for a wall 1,403 feet long, and from 6 to 18 feet in height," said Tyler.
Hallcrest Height resident Jim Moske spoke at Saturday's hearing, noting that as his home backs up against the Dulles Toll Road, it is "one of the most affected by the Toll Road, and one of the most affected by the route of the planned Metro."
Richard Meade also owns a home that runs up against the highway.
"In 1988 I told my grandchildren that the noise they were hearing was the ocean," said Meade. "Well the ocean is growing."
In addition to a sound barrier, Hallcrest Heights resident Ann Jaques, made a petition for new row of trees to go along with it.
"I was there before 267 was there, and I wasn't opposed, but the cars go off the road and crash into the back of the townhouses," said Jaques.
According to Clark Tyler, VDOT traffic volume projections that were made when the Toll Road was built in 1982 were "woefully inadequate."
"The projection made for this was for 46,000 daily vehicles by the year 2000, and the latest VDOT projections for 2030 are close to three to four times that number," said Tyler. "The lack of sufficient noise mitigation was a factor of those low projections in 1982. The FAA [Federal Aviation Administration] did erect a short wooden fence, but VDOT labeled this a privacy screen, not a noise barrier."