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What to Know About the I-290 Noise Wall Process

Where are we now?

printer-friendly 25th Avenue to 1st Avenue Noise Wall
Re-Evaluation and Voting Schedule

In the fall of 2015, IDOT completed a traffic noise analysis for the entire I-290 project. The analysis concluded that certain areas along the expressway could benefit from a noise wall. IDOT hosted and participated in informational forums for property owners and occupants in October, November and December of 2015.  In November, IDOT initiated the noise wall voting process, which was completed in February 2016.

Why Propose Noise Walls?

Traffic noise is considered an environmental impact, and therefore, a noise analysis is required by Federal Policy for any major expressway reconstruction.  The Federal Highway Administration establishes specific requirements for the analysis and voting process.

Why is Maywood voting again?

The I-290 design was changed in the Maywood area (25th Avenue to 1st Avenue) as an outcome of the Maywood Advisory Working Group process that began in January of 2016 (all ramps remain open).  Therefore, IDOT is revisiting the noise analysis for this portion of the project.  Once the re-analysis is complete, a new series of noise wall ballots will be mailed to those property owners and renters who are determined to benefit from a noise wall.

How does the noise wall voting process work?

As established by the Federal Highway Administration regulations, property owners who benefit from a noise walls are able to vote for or against that noise wall. In order for a person to be eligible to vote, the noise wall must result in a 5 decibel decrease in the noise level at the property, which is a readily perceptible change in noise (typically homes within 300 feet of a noise wall). Anything less than 5 decibels is barely detectible by the human ear, therefore a noise wall would not provide any perceptible benefit.

If more than 50% of the votes received are in favor of a wall (a simple majority), a wall will likely be included in the project. A response rate of at least 33% of eligible voters is desired. If the response rate from the initial ballot mailing is less than 33% for a given wall, a second ballot will be mailed to residents benefitted by that wall who did not return a ballot in the first round.

Voters who are in the “first row” of receptors (who share a property line with the highway) will be counted and weighed as two votes. All others will be single votes. For rental properties, each occupant will count as one vote and the owner counts as one vote per unit. A final decision on the installation of abatement measures will be made upon completion of the project’s final design and the public involvement process.

When is the noise wall voting for Maywood taking place?

The noise wall ballots will be mailed in late August. Voters will have three weeks to respond by mailing in their ballots. If less than 33% of the eligible voters respond, a second mailing will go out to the benefited receptors who did not vote in the first round. The second round of voters will have an additional three weeks to send in their ballots.

Who pays to construct and maintain the noise walls?

Local communities and residents do not pay for noise wall construction.  The construction cost of any proposed noise wall will be included as part of the overall I-290 construction project cost.   Once constructed, IDOT will maintain the noise wall structures and repair any damaged wall sections.  IDOT will also maintain the appearance of the I-290 facing side of the noise walls, and the local communities will be asked to maintain the appearance of the community face of the noise walls.

What would the walls look like?

Renderings have been prepared in the Maywood area and can be found (here).  These renderings represent the most basic option in terms of appearance and materials.  IDOT will continue to work with communities to identify other materials and aesthetic features