DOT says no noise walls on I-277 in Fourth Ward

The N.C. Department of Transportation said the idea of building sound walls along the Brookshire Freeway in Charlotte’s Fourth Ward is dead.

DOT said Thursday that based on voting by property owners along the freeway in the area southeast of North Pine Street – essentially, southeast of Graham Street – the plan to build the walls has been dropped.

State transportation officials had raised the idea as part of the Interstate 77 widening project that will add toll lanes from the Brookshire Freeway to Exit 36 in Mooresville. DOT held two public meetings in December and another in February, then allowed property owners to vote.

The sound wall proposal drew opposition from the city of Charlotte and from Charlotte Center City Partners, which voiced concern that the structures would be unsightly and might block the view of uptown’s tall buildings. Proponents said the walls would quiet the noise of traffic from the Brookshire Freeway for residents of Fourth Ward, the northwest quadrant of Charlotte’s uptown.

DOT hired an independent contractor to double-check the ballots – a process that included contacting homeowners associations and individual property owners to verify ownership.

State officials announced last month that they expect to sign a contract in June with a Spanish-based firm, Cintra Infraestructures, to oversee the I-77 project. Work could begin as early as December and is expected to be completed in 2018.