FDOT installs concrete noise barrier walls along I-275

Residents in St. Petersburg have been waiting for noise barriers to be built along I-275 for over a year.

Claudia Harrison's backyard is just a stone's throw away from the highway, but she says she has tricks to drown out the noise in her house.

"I leave the TV's on most of the time, whether I'm watching it or not," she said. "And that helps!"

What's really going to help, the Florida Department of Transportation says, are the 22-foot tall concrete noise barriers they are currently installing along the highway. 

"We're building three walls associated with the Gateway Expressway Project," said John McShaffrey, FDOT's Community Outreach Manager.

FDOT says two of the walls will be at the north and southbound Roosevelt Boulevard exits of 275, and a third at the northbound Gandy Boulevard exit. 

The project includes adding a lane in either direction on I-275 for express toll lanes, pushing traffic closer to some neighborhoods. 

"These areas we determined we can reduce the noise decibels, the increased noise that would be created by the widenening of the I-275 portion of the project, by at least five to seven decibels," McShaffrey said.

The move is expected to bring down the sound of every day traffic and the late night ruckus.
"Sirens and the speeding, and squealing of breaks, stuff like that," Harrison said.

Cost-wise, it's only $3.4 million of the $580 million dollar project.

FDOT says the funding was pulled from more than just the gas tax revenue.

"Ultimately we'll also have some of the funds that are reimbursed from the tolls," McShaffrey said.

The walls should be completed by June, according to FDOT.