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Residents voice concerns about Allandale sound wall

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Construction starts along MoPac this week as part of the Improvement Project to add one toll lane in each direction.

Some Allandale residents who live along the corridor are concerned about sound wall number three. Wall three will be about a mile long and could be between 12 and 20 feet.

Sandra Helton lives just three doors down from where the sound wall will go up.

"They total 117 signatures," Helton explained holding petition signatures she's gathered. Helton went door to door.

Currently the sound wall will be built on the right of way of Great Northern Boulevard belonging to the city of Austin. Helton hopes that maybe there is a chance the city will reconsider allowing the wall to go up there.

"The construction project will be over but the wall will be there forever," Helton said.

She would like to see the wall, if it has to go up, be put on the other side of the railroad tracks closer to MoPac. Helton's main concern is a row of trees that separates the railroad tracks from the bike path along Great Northern.

"I want the wall to be built in the MoPac right of way or not to be built at all from Bullard to the Far West bridge," she said.

Helton and some of her neighbors made their voices heard Monday at the city's Comprehensive Planning and Transportation Committee.

Donald Goetz is the Executive Director for Austin Montessori School. The school is located along Great Northern Blvd. Goetz voted in favor of the noise abatement but now that he knows more details he would change his mind.

Goetz and other voters approved the 19 out of the 22 proposed walls back in 2011. Helton says she was not eligible to vote because her property was not adjacent to the location of the sound wall.

Steve Pustelnyk with the MoPac Improvement Project says wall three passed and as part of the environmental plan it must be built.

"Simply eliminating the approval to build on the right of way doesn't eliminate the issue because we are still obligated to build the wall," Pustelnyk said.

Construction on wall three is scheduled to start sometime in the middle of 2014. Helton hopes that could buy her neighborhood some time to figure out alternative plan.

"It's no Barton Creek Greenbelt but it's our green space and we don't want to lose it," Helton said.

There is a free app that commuters and residents in the corridor can download to stay current with all the lane closures on the project.

In the beginning of December the lanes will be shifted and concrete barriers will be put in place.

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