Thursday, October 7, 2004
That's Just Wrong: Turnpike Trouble
For one South Florida community, pollution is becoming a major problem... Not air pollution but noise pollution. It turns out a busy, South Florida highway is driving nearby neighbors mad. They're uspet because they say the size of some proposed noise walls are just wrong.
(WSVN) -- Iguanas lounging in the thick grass, swans swimming in the water.
It's a piece of paradise in Plantation that Jennifer hansen has called home her entire life.
But she's afraid the area's becoming paradise lost.
The sound of cars, trucks and motorcycles have now taken over the neighborhood.
Jennifer Hansen: "It's not like a train where it stops and comes and goes, it's not like an airport where the take off and land and there are places in between, it just never stops."
Jennifer's parents bought this house before the Turnpike was even built.
She and her neighbors have learned to deal with the noise. But the problem now is that the Turnpike is getting bigger. Expansion is planned from Griffin Road to Sunrise Boulevard.
Jennifer: "They are going to widen it to 14 paved lanes of super highway and they want to put the minimum noise walls up and we just, we don't think that's fair."
Amado Diaz: "I can hear it in the morning, I can hear it in the afternoon when I get home from work and I can hear it even when I get home at night."
The walls would look just like this. Not only are they supposed to lessen noise, but they are also supposed to help with air pollution.
Residents in Plantation say they want the walls, but they want them to be 21 feet high, not 16 feet high like the Turnpike authority is proposing.
John Post: "All these people want is that we want the highest wall. We have to base it on something, and our noise models show that these walls do what they're supposed to do."
Turnpike authorities say wall heights are based on a formula.
And according to their formula, a 16 foot wall would benefit just as many people as a 21 foot wall.
John Post: "We analyzed it and determined that a 16 foot high wall benefits them and going any higher doesn't give us any more benefits."
But neighbors say that's just wrong.
They claim Turnpike authorities won't go for higher walls because they cost more money and not enough people live along the expressway.
Jennifer's so upset, she started a grassroots effort via the internet, and already has collected more than 10,000 signatures from neighbors demanding the height increase.
The group says they'll fight to preserve as much of paradise as possible.
Jeniffer: "I plan on dying in this house, it's very important to us and it's very important to our history to our community, you know, we feel like we are really making a difference."
Jennifer has now gotten the attention of Broward county's mayor, who is looking into the matter. Another public meeting is scheduled for october 26th at McArthur High School in Hollywood.
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