128 sound barrier brings relief to Waban residents

Wicked Local staff photo by Keith E. Jacobson

Sound barriers are being placed along the section of Route 128 near the Route 16 exit in Waban.
By Laura Paine/Staff Writer Wicked Local Newton Posted Aug 10, 2010 @ 04:38 PM Last update Aug 10, 2010 @ 06:18 PM Newton ² Newton residents in Waban are finally enjoying the quiet that they patiently awaited for more than a decade. With the sound barrier between I-95 and the East Quinobequin and Quinobequin Road area nearing completion, residents and members of the Sound Barrier Support Group have finally found the closure they needed to what resident Sona Petrossian called a ³very long mission.´ ³Now that they¶re putting [the barrier] up, the gratification we feel is just immeasurable,´ Petrossian said. ³This puts credence into what we¶re hearing, seeing, smelling and feeling. People are so relieved. Neighbors are finally putting additions on their houses now that they get some extra protection. People are upgrading their windows and doing things they didn¶t think would make any impact because of the highway. ³ The East Quinobequin and Quinobequin Road area ranked eighth out of the 53 noisiest regions statewide, according to MassHighway. Funding for the $4.5 million, 3,340-foot barrier was approved by the state Legislature in 2008 as a part of the Transportation Bond Bill.

Petrossian said it took years of lobbying to collect on a promise to construct a barrier there, and she feels good about being a part of the process that made ³the system work´ in a constructive manner. ³My husband and I notice the difference,´ she said. ³The noise has been mitigated. I think whether the wall went up or not, I have acquired more close friends than I had before. I have such respect for the people I¶ve been working with. We are very pleased, thankful and appreciative of all of the people who came together to get this done.´ ³I have been leaving the window open at night in the bedroom,´ added Grace Spitz, who has lived on East Quinobequin for 43 years.. ³I could not do that for 40 years. I can actually breathe air instead of having the AC running all night,´ Spitz said. Spitz is happy with what has been done with the wall, but said she will have a better idea about its effectiveness once the project is finished. For now, she said when she hears the construction at 6 in the morning, it is music to her ears. Though the barrier is not yet complete, Spitz has purchased a piece of lawn furniture just as she vowed to do in a 2008 TAB interview. State Rep. Kay Khan had been advocating for the barrier for the last 16 years. She said the hard work and persistence of her constituents, in addition to a lengthy list of supporters including Sen. Cynthia Creem, Congressman Barney Frank, D-4th, and former Mayor David Cohen. ³I am pleased that after a lengthy process, my constituents are finally enjoying what they had hoped would make a difference in the quality of their lives,´ Khan said. ³The work is impressive and I also wish to commend all the people, including the construction team who have worked to bring this dream to a reality.´ Laura Paine can be reached at lpaine@cnc.com.
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