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Homeowners backing onto Fairway Road want noise barriers

By Ryan Flanagan
Kitchener Post staff

With the extension of Fairway Road into Cambridge nearing completion, residents on the existing portion of the street are concerned about noise from trucks and other vehicles.

Noise barriers are being installed, at a cost of $975,000, along some sections of the road, but 20 residents of Colton Circle, whose homes back onto Fairway, are upset that the barriers stop before their properties.

“It was quite private back there, and now we’re going to have transport trucks in our backyard,” resident Cathy Richards told regional councillors Tuesday.

Citing computer-modeled noise studies, regional staff say there’s no need for noise barriers past 48 Colton Circle, even though there are 20 more properties before the street bends away from Fairway. That’s because these properties are set further back from Fairway, with a stormwater pond between their backyards and the road.

“Noise mitigation is not warranted, based on our current noise policy, beyond 48 Colton,” said Robert Gallivan, a regional transportation development manager.

When the Lyndale Estates subdivision was built in 2006, traffic noise wasn’t an issue, Richards said.

The backyard areas felt like backyards. A hill separated the yards from Fairway Road, and foxes and deer could even be glimpsed, on occasion.

In an effort to improve the visual appeal of the road, regional work crews later took out the hill and added a rock façade on the opposite side of the road.

“Now the road’s level with the homes and the sound bounces off the rocks toward the homes,” said Richards in an interview.

Already unhappy with the noise levels, neighbours are concerned about new traffic making the situation worse — particularly transport trucks using air brakes to slow down in advance of the roundabout at Zeller Drive.

Richards says neighbours were only informed of the noise barrier through a letter at their doorsteps in late October.

Gallivan said extending the noise barrier, which would cost $150,000, is unlikely, but landscaping solutions might be considered.

“We’re looking at doing some landscaping, some possible berms in that area which will have the possible side benefit of visual enhancement as well as some noise mitigation,” he said.

Councillors asked to see a report once potential solutions have been considered. While not optimistic, Richards said she was glad her words had some effect.

“At least they’re going to look at it and review it,” she said.

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