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Council Preference on Noise Walls

  • 21 January 2015
The Vail Town Council is forwarding a preference in the decision-making process to determine if noise walls will be built as part of the I-70 Vail Underpass project, with the Council’s preference weighted against a noise wall. The decision occurred at the Town Council’s evening meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 20 following a public hearing.

Of the 203 “benefiting receptors” eligible to take part in a preference survey being conducted by the Town of Vail and the Colorado Department of Transportation to determine if noise walls will be built as part of the underpass project, the Town of Vail is in receipt of 69 of those surveys due to its ownership of the Lion’s Ridge Village Homes/Timber Ridge property (68 surveys) and the adjoining bike path (1 survey). As a result of the Jan. 20 Town Council decision, the preference surveys will be submitted as follows: on behalf of future tenants of the Lion’s Ridge Village Apartments, there are 19 preferences “for” a noise wall and 49 preferences “against;” on behalf of the recreation path users, 1 preference will be forwarded “against” a noise wall. Each survey is counted twice so the final tally will include 38 for the noise wall and 100 against the noise wall on behalf of the Town of Vail. This represents the combination of the surveys for the future apartments plus the path.

The Town of Vail’s allotment of survey forms account for 34 percent of the 203 forms that have been distributed to “benefiting receptors.” With two tallies counted per survey, the town will be credited for 138 of the 403 potential responses if all surveys are completed. Benefiting receptors are those units with outdoor spaces, such as decks and patios that would receive a noticeable noise reduction of 5 decibels or more as a result of installation of the noise walls. While the underpass project, to be located midway between the Main Vail and West Vail exits, qualifies for construction of a noise wall on the north side of I-70, it will not be included in the project unless a majority of the benefiting receptors show support in the preference survey.

Of the seven council members, only Greg Moffet and Dale Bugby expressed support for the noise walls with the remaining members expressing concerns about the cost implications to the town, among other factors. Noise walls are not currently included in the project budget.
Responses to the preference survey by the remaining benefiting receptors are due by 5 p.m. Jan. 30 and are being collected by the Vail Town Clerk. If the majority preference by the benefiting receptors is in opposition of a noise wall, the project design will proceed without a noise wall. If the preference is in support of a noise wall, the next steps would be to determine the type of wall through a public process as well as funding approvals to be determined by the Town Council and CDOT.

The results of the preference survey by all participating receptors will be announced by noon on Monday, Feb. 2 via the town’s online project page.

Revised cost estimates for the underpass project have increased from $20.8 million to $29 million, which has caused the Town Council and CDOT to explore avenues for additional funding. The current cost-share split has the town paying 29 percent of the project and CDOT funding 71 percent. A final determination on the project budget will be made this spring.

For additional information on this topic, visit the town’s project page or contact Town Engineer Tom Kassmel at 970-479-2235 or tkassmel@vailgov.com
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