Milford resident embraces sound barriers on I-95

To the Editor:

This is in response to the Opinion letter by Jim Cameron in The Milford Mirror on Thursday, May 23, 2013, entitled "Sound barriers: A waste of money."

Mr. Cameron, a Darien resident lives approximately 1,500 feet from I-95 and doesn't think the government should subsidize sound barriers for people who buy houses near the highway.

I am a Milford resident and live less than 200 feet from I-95. My late parents purchased my home in 1964. Perhaps they were short-sighted, but I don't believe anyone in 1964 could have ever imagined I-95 as it is today.

Mr. Cameron mentions how on a quiet summer's night he can hear the trucks whiz by at 70 mph. I don't know what a 'quiet summer's night' is at my house. I hear and see trucks roaring by at 70 and 80 mph, 'Jack braking' as they go, not only on a summer's night, but every night, every day, at all hours, whether it's 6 p.m., midnight, or 3 a.m.

The noise level is only one of the problems of living so close to I-95. During the summer months, the leaves of a few trees in the small space between my yard and the highway's guardrail offer a slight reprieve from the sight of thousands of cars and trucks driving through my backyard. We may not see every car, truck and motorcycle making the noise, but the noise is still there.

In the fall when the trees go bare, the clear view of I-95’s traffic is disgustingly enhanced with trash tossed by travelers into my backyard. Whether McDonald's bags, plastic cups, tires, boxes, countless pieces of paper, large fluorescent orange 'ROAD WORK' signs forgotten by the CT DOT, they are all blown over the guardrail and left for me to stare at all winter.

The Connecticut littering fine is set at up to $199 for each offense. If all those who littered were fined, the resulting revenue would pay for sound barriers across the entire state.

A more dangerous problem of living so close to I-95 is when vehicles come careening down the embankments toward homes like mine. Three such accidents have happened in my backyard in the 50 years I have lived here. When I was 11 years old, I watched horrified and screaming as a car plummeted into my play area. I don't want to relive that experience and no parents want their children to either.

Mr. Cameron's suggestions have their own problems: 1) Sound-proofing homes along the interstate wouldn't help me enjoy a 'quiet summer's night'; 2) Rubberizing the road may cut down the noise slightly but wouldn't stop the tons of trash dumped each year; and 3) Pay for it myself? I already pay my fair share of taxes to the city of Milford and the state of Connecticut.

We all contribute tax dollars for benefits and conveniences that we don't need or use ourselves, but paying our share for the good of all is the way this country works. I'm only asking for the benefit of a clean and safe backyard and perhaps the hope of one day enjoying a 'quiet summer's night.'

Angela Richter