I-35E noise wall?

Residents in area east of freeway will be asked

Burnsville residents in an area east of Interstate 35E will have a say in whether a sound wall is built to reduce freeway noise.

The wall would run from just north of County Road 42 to Portland Avenue. The Minnesota Department of Transportation has identified the area as one that would benefit from a wall, said Tara McBride, MnDOT’s Dakota County-area engineer.

MnDOT and the city will reach out to several dozen benefiting properties. MnDOT uses a balloting process to gauge resident interest. The City Council would still have to approve the $1.1 million project and contribute 10 percent of the cost.

Council members gave the go-ahead at a Feb. 14 work session to poll the neighborhood. Construction wouldn’t occur for several years, according to a city staff report.

“Some residents like them, some don’t,” McBride said. The wall is part of MnDOT’s annual $2 million program of “standalone” walls not tied to highway projects, she said.

For an area to qualify, a certain percentage of properties must realize noise relief of at least 5 decibels, McBride said. Another part of Burnsville — at Highway 13 and Horizon Drive — was explored for the program last year but didn’t qualify.

A noise wall was once offered along Interstate 35W in the Crystal Lake area, but neighbors rejected it, Mayor Elizabeth Kautz said. Poor response to the balloting, in which no vote was a “no” vote, may have hurt its prospects, City Engineer Ryan Peterson said.

Residents like the wall on the west side of I-35W south of Burnsville Parkway, said Council Member Dan Gustafson, who lives in the area.

To fund its share of slightly more than $100,000, the city could use general funds, draw from its share of state aid for roads or assess benefiting property owners, Peterson said.

Assessments would likely douse potential support for the project, Council Bill Coughlin said.