Homeowners along S.R. 248 corridor fuming over traffic noise
September 26, 2018
Homeowners along S.R. 248 near the Jordanelle Reservoir are fuming over recent roadwork, which, they say, has led to an unbearable increase in traffic noise.
Residents who live in areas such as Black Rock Ridge, Hideout, Deer Mountain and Deer Vista are blaming the noise on a recent chip seal the Utah Department of Transportation performed on a significant portion of the road between Quinn's Junction and Kamas. Many say it has impacted their quality of life, with most demanding UDOT immediately fix it.
"I can hear it coming through the closed windows, and when I open the door to let the dog out, the first thing that goes through my mind is: another 16 hours of this," said Peter Kemp, who lives in Deer Mountain. "We can't live like this. It is not acceptable. It is not what we have signed up for. It isn't fair and it's immoral."
Nearly 100 people attended a heated discussion last week with two representatives of UDOT in the hopes of hearing a solution to the problem. But, instead, the nearly two-hour meeting concluded without one being identified, and with many residents shouting in anger over the issue.
Hideout Mayor Phil Rubin said he was disappointed in UDOT's response to the concerns of those at the meeting. More than a dozen residents have approached Rubin about the problem.
"I was hoping they would come forward with some options for us to consider," he said. "I agree in my experience with chip seal, the noise will come down with wear and tear so let's hope for a big winter with a lot of plowing so we can drag the surface."
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A significant portion of the conversation focused on why UDOT performed the chip seal in the first place. Danny Paige, UDOT's east district engineer, said the work was done to address water seepage that occurred on S.R. 248 after the road was repaved in 2017. UDOT has also said chip seals extend the life of the pavement.
"The decision was made to put the chip seal on to seal and protect that pavement," he said. "But, we don't know why it was weeping. If we would have done nothing, there would have been a lot more sheets of ice and that was a concern to us for the driving public."
People at the meeting blamed the repaving job, with several people berating Paige. One person exclaimed, "You screwed up when you put the new pavement down."
Paige denied that UDOT caused the problem. But, he was unable to explain why the seepage occurred. He said the chip seal was the best option to seal the pavement and provide skid friction for drivers.
He admitted the chip seal is louder, but added "UDOT's No. 1 concern is safety."
"The positive thing about the chip seal is that when these plows starting hitting it, you will notice a difference," he said. "They will take a little bit of that top layer off and it's going to get quieter. How much quieter? We don't know. But, the pavement is going to wear."
When asked if UDOT considered the noise impact, Lonnie Marchant, UDOT's materials engineer, said noise is only taken into account when pavement width is added, as was the case with the additional climbing lane on Interstate 80 near Jeremy Ranch that resulted in a voter-approved noise barrier. The chip seal is considered a preservation treatment.
Those who attended the meeting appeared unsatisfied with Paige and Marchant's responses. Some suggested UDOT lower the speed limit to help reduce the noise. Others demanded Paige take the feedback from the meeting to other UDOT officials and return with a plan on how to address the situation. Paige said that was unlikely to occur.
"From a construction and maintenance standpoint right now, we are worried about the moisture problem as far as ice on 248," Paige said. "We don't see anything being immediately done in the next few months. We don't know what the winter holds, but we want to monitor it over the winter and see what happens."
Paige agreed to maintain contact with Kemp, who organized the meeting and is spearheading the homeowners' efforts to address the traffic noise.
"We can't live with this for five to seven years," Kemp said. "I doubt it is realistic to repave the road, but if there is something to be done in the short term to get the noise down, we want to hear it."
Rubin commended the community showing at the meeting. He added, "We aren't going to roll over at this point."