Valley Ridge residents flabbergasted by a west ring road noise wall

CALGARY — The residents of Valley Ridge have had ongoing battles with the province over the construction of the west ring road project for several years and now the addition of a cement barrier wall can be added to that list.

Residents along Valley Meadow Close back on to a new exit ramp that enters the community from the Trans-Canada Highway.

From Mike Mahar’s backyard you can see the ongoing construction of the multi-billion dollar project. He says the new wall, which is supposed to block the noise of construction equipment, does nothing.

“Virtually no purpose,” he said. “To even put the money into that, is a waste of money.”

The noise reduction wall, or noise attenuation, is shorter than the six-foot fence line at the back of the homes that overlook the highway.

The road is at the top of a berm, the place where the residents believed the wall was going to go.

“It’s going to be located on this berm up here and it will block the noise,” said Colin Omilusik, who lives across the street from the houses that back onto the wall.

He says he can hear traffic noise and see beaming headlights from his front yard.

“Well, they laid it down, they actually dug the berm down, removed the berm and then they put the cement wall (in).”

Omisulik says it was poor planning from the province.

“Anyone with half a brain could walk to that wall and go, ‘What the heck, that’s doing nothing.’ It’s shorter than the backyard fence,” he said.

Mahar believes provincial officials should make the wall taller, than the 1.8 metres it currently is.

“Imagine that was your home, imagine if that was your children playing in the backyard,” he said. “I can’t imagine what that’s done to the property value, along the yards that are touching the highway.”

Alberta Transportation admits that there is ongoing noise disruption, as construction continues, but is keeping residents in the loop about the project.

“We recognize that construction is disruptive and bothersome, which is why we regularly communicate with the residents of Valley Ridge,” said spokesperson McKenzie Kibler.

“We are grateful to all Calgarians for their patience while we finish this major project.”

The province says that the noise study that was completed found “that noise attenuation is what is warranted at the Valley Ridge neighbourhood to meet provincial noise guidelines.”

Kibler says noise attenuation will be looked at again, once the project is complete, which is expected by 2024.

“The contractor is required to reassess noise levels and provide sound attenuation if necessary.”

A petition has also been launched by residents including a former community association board member, Grant Knowles.

It requests the province move the noise wall further up the berm, to allow for protection of the homes and reduce noise.

It’s garnered nearly 500 signatures.

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