To build a wall or to not build a wall — that is the question. In this case we’re not talking Donald Trump. We are talking about a proposed noise barrier being considered by UDOT (Utah Department of Transportation) along I-80 near Jeremy Ranch. As part of the process of adding an additional lane to I-80, UDOT is considering building a 3200 foot long, 18 foot tall concrete wall to reduce the noise. Of course, there have been complaints.
Some residents have complained about not being able to sleep due to the noise. Other residents have responded that those people knew that they were buying a home along I-80 and that a wall runs counter to our General Plan. The counter argument from other folks is that people buying homes didn’t know there was going to be an additional lane built on I-80 — which we guess will further increase the noise.
It’s quite the mess.
Evidently, UDOT is going to ask the 22 homes that are the most impacted to vote on whether they want the 57,000 square feet of wall being proposed. This vote will then influence UDOT’s decision to build or not to build.
However, your friends at the ParkRag have good news (either way) … So, worry not Jeremy Ranch residents.
If UDOT decides not to build the wall, then we pretty much have the status quo. For those people who live along the freeway, it’ll continue to be loud (which we are sure isn’t pleasant)… but you still sort of live in Park City.
However, if the wall is built, we’ll all get some more affordable housing in Jeremy Ranch. There was a study appearing in the Appraisal Journal that looked at home prices of houses behind noise barriers in Montreal. Their study of home prices over 20 years found a “noise barrier induced a decrease of 6% in the house prices in our sample in the short run, while it had a stronger negative impact of 11% in the long run.” It’s a little counter-intuitive. You’d think that less noise would increase value. Of course, there are other studies that have different outcomes, but this study seems to address the weaknesses in other studies. So, we wouldn’t be surprised if there is some merit to reduced home prices behind the wall.
Personally when I’ve driven by these barriers, I usually wonder what sort of Urban Wasteland they trying to hide. That could just be me, though.
Maybe the charm of Park City will override the 18 foot concrete walls… and maybe they’ll even commission an artist to draw moose on them. That’ll be good until the graffiti comes of course. Maybe Banksy will come back and draw a mouse on the freeway wall? A town could hope.
There always seems to be a million battles being fought in Park City — and like most battles — we’re not sure anyone really knows the consequences of the outcome.
To build a wall or not build a wall that is the question. And one that your friends at UDOT will sort out for you, whether you want them to or not.