Graphic Sign Shows Wichita Couple's Noisy Frustration

By: Chris Frank
By: Chris Frank

WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -- A battle is brewing between a west Wichita neighborhood and the Kansas Department of Transportation.

Some residents of the Orchard Park neighborhood say KDOT needs to build a noise barrier wall as part of the project to rebuild the Kellogg and I-235 interchange.

"They want our land. Give us a wall."

Greg and Stephanie Wisecarver have lived next to the I-235 freeway for 31 years. It's always been noisy, they say. But the Wisecarvers say it'll get noisier next year when KDOT begins the first phase of the interchange project. That, Greg Wisecarver says, because the project will take a row of trees on his property he planted to help lower the noise.

"All we want is a wall. I planted these trees over the years to cut down on the noise."

KDOT Spokesman Tom Hein says, "KDOT hears from people who live adjacent to highways, quite often, requesting noise walls."

But Hein says, "KDOT engineers have assessed this area of 235 and it just doesn't meet the criteria of adding noise walls to the project."

The Wisecarvers disagree and have put up a sign for northbound drivers on I-235 to see. It says "KDOT said FU no noise wall."

Greg Wisecarver says, "There's something that needs to happen. They're not just going to blow us off because the noise level's here. There's a high enough decibel reading to qualify for the wall. It's just that they don't want to spend the money."

Hein says, "They are not cheap projects. And generally they don't increase the capacity of a roadway. And they don't increase the functionality of it, so that additional cost of building that part of a project doesn't always gain traction in the fight for dollars."

The Wisecarvers say KDOT hasn't heard the last from them saying they are petitioning the neighborhood in their effort to get a sound barrier wall built.

Posted by: Nick Viviani


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