correspondence from
Joyce Basciano, president
, MoPac
Neighborhoods Association Coalition


John,

I distributed your text below to the MoNAC member organizations.

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The Loop 1 / MoPac Project Team is getting up to speed. As mentioned in recent news
reports, we plan to construct three sample sound barrier walls this spring at
the TxDOT Bull Creek facility for the public to see and study. The walls will
have a variety of sample architectural finishes. Next year, we will invite
interested citizens to join an architectural advisory committee to help select
an architectural theme for the corridor.


More broadly, we will begin the environmental review and public involvement
process shortly after the holidays. We really hope to get a broad range of
folks involved over the upcoming year. As always, we really appreciate MoNAC’s
interest and "constructive engagement" in this important project.

************************************************************************************************************************************

The comments I received indicate it’s time to get an official status
report from you.  Is a general outline, with milestone dates for
the tasks of the
Loop1 /MoPac Project
Team available for MoNAC members information?
  They are interested
specifically in when and how they may get involved in the citizen review and
input process?  Also what are the projected commencement and
completion dates for the design, environmental review and actual
construction of the sound walls?  MoNAC was told sometime this year
that the sound wall construction would start by the end of 2006.  Is
this date still certain?

This is a summary of the comments and questions I received from MoNAC
members:

1) When and where will the sound walls, designed to demonstrate noise
attentuation, be constructed?  Several members understood these walls
would be constructed at TxDOT’s

Camp Hubbard facility, directly adjacent to
MoPAC.  They realize that the Bull Creek location is inadequate to
demonstrate MoPac noise attenuation (will that be made clear to the public with
signage at that site?), and so are wondering where the actual noise
demonstration walls will be constructed. 

2) Several neighbors volunteered their yards for sound
testing, before and after a test sound wall is constructed.  The
goal, to see if sound is decreased and/or thrown farther into the
neighborhood.  There is a concern that if the walls are constructed at
TxDOT’s Camp Hubbard facility, a rather topographically flat area, that the
issue of sound being thrown (uphill or downhill) into neighborhoods of higher
or lower elevations won’t be adequately tested.

3)  Several members have expressed an interest
in working on the architectural advisory committee. 
They would like to know when, in the next year, they may begin participating
and how many may join the committee.

So, as you can see, MoNAC members are most interested in ‘constructive
engagement’ with your project team and TxDOT.

Thank you,
Joyce Basciano, president

MoPac
Neighborhoods Association Coalition

512-454-0207

CC: Arten Avakian, VP MoNAC & Frances Allen, Past Pres. MoNAC

John Kelly’s response to the above:

Hi Joyce:

Our Loop1/MoPac
Consultant Team is currently working with TxDOT on the projected schedules for
the various phases of work, both for the Interim Proposed Project and the
Ultimate Proposed Project. We will need a bit more time before we can provide
you a target schedule, but we will be glad to do so as soon as it is worked
out. We do appreciate the interest expressed by your membership.

There may
be some misperception regarding the sample sound barrier walls, Joyce. They are
being constructed to give folks an opportunity to see real, full-size sample
concrete walls of varying heights with some potential architectural treatments
shown. The sample walls are not intended to test for actual sound attenuation.
Actual attenuation values are determined by a federally-recognized computer
analysis performed by noise experts that will take into account the terrain
(relative height of the roadway/rail in relation to the homes and businesses in
the adjacent neighborhoods) and the material of which the sound walls are to be
constructed. The federal program (called TNM –Terrain Noise Model) has been
calibrated and tested in previous installations in other places in the
U.S,
so we will not need to
do sample installations for that purpose. Concrete of a given thickness
and surfacing has a recognized (previously-tested) sound attenuation
value.

 

Ultimately,
once a stretch of the corridor has been determined to meet the federal
"reasonable and feasible criteria" that allows TxDOT to construct the
sound walls, then there will have to be a vote of the property owners abutting
each stretch of the corridor "for" or "against" the
construction of the walls . (Of course, there is no cost to the property owners
either way). It has not yet been determined over what length each vote will
take place, but it will not be one vote for the entire corridor.

Being an
engineer who’s somewhat of an "architect-wanna-be", I will be
personally involved in the Architectural Advisory Committee. It will be several
months before we can get up and running, but please keep a list of interested
folks so we can contact them at the appropriate time.

We’ll
definitely be back in touch soon. Let me know if there are other issues that
arise. Thanks!

John
P. Kelly PE
Vice President – Major Projects Texas

400 west 15th Street,  Suite 500
Austin, Texas 78701
Tel: (512) 457 7871 (direct)

Fax: (512) 472-7519

John.kelly [Email address: John.kelly #AT# dmjmharris.com - replace #AT# with @ ]