City, residents in favor of noise mitigation efforts around Hwy. 290

Two construction projects in the works for Hwy. 290 around Jersey Village have not only residents concerned about roadway noise, but also the city pursuing noise mitigation efforts.

Last October, City Council began working with Blackburn and Carter, an environmental law firm, to pursue some form of noise mitigation from the Texas Department of Transportation when construction begins on the Hwy. 290 and Beltway 8 interchange this year.

"When we were looking at the environmental impact statement associated with the 290 project, the city made its concerns known at that time about quality of life as it relates to noise assessment with the expansion of 290," said Mike Castro, city manager.

Although city administrators made those concerns known to TxDOT, the plans for noise mitigation in Jersey Village are minimal, Castro said.

"They have noise walls [planned] for a small section on the far west side of the city near some multifamily housing, but we were concerned with the areas around Seattle Street," he said. "TxDOT responded and said [that area] is not [in their plans], and we told them we want to work with you and see what is possible."

When the Harris County Toll Road Authority expanded Beltway 8 in Jersey Village about four years ago, the city worked with the county, citizens and former councilman Mark Maloy to lobby for noise mitigation measures. To appease residents, the HCTRA placed a treatment on the roadway to reduce noise and provide a safer road surface. The permeable friction course treatment—or rubberized asphalt—dissipates water more efficiently than traditional concrete, and it reduces noise by three or four decibels, Castro said.

"I think it was a very positive improvement to that stretch of the tollway," he said.

During the May 21 City Council meeting, several residents spoke about the need for noise mitigation around the city.

Resident Joshua Normand said one of the first things he noticed after moving into his home was the road noise, most apparent in the backyard and on the second floor.

"We need your help to represent us in front of TxDOT to get that abatement that will reduce the noise, make our yards enjoyable and help us sleep well at night and not have to worry about the road noise," he said.

Resident Jerry Roberts is concerned about both upcoming Hwy. 290 projects — the construction of managed lanes and the work that will be done to the Beltway 8 interchange.

"On one side, we have the Beltway with a wall and 290 with no wall," he said. "We urge you to campaign for us for some type of noise abatement."

Mayor Russell Hamley asked the affected residents to reach out to other officials in the area.

"The message about the noise is loud and clear, and Council is looking at that issue," he said. "We are just one piece of the puzzle. The second is the citizens who write and talk to their elected officials beyond City Council."

By Marie Leonard
Marie came to Community Impact Newspaper in June 2011 after starting her career at a daily newspaper in East Texas. She worked as a reporter and editor for the Cy-Fair edition for nearly 5 years covering Harris County, Cy-Fair ISD, and local development and transportation news. She then moved to The Woodlands edition and covered local politics and development news in the master-planned community before being promoted to managing editor for the South Houston editions in July 2017.