How Your Sound Wall Sausage Gets Made


Any mom, pop, Bob, Jane, or little Mary can take one glance at the sound walls bordering the highway and realize in just a few seconds that they are both useless and mighty expensive.

As sound walls began popping up years ago, plenty of journalists cast a wary eye toward the concrete monstrosities, finding that yes, they are expensive (more than $1 million per mile), yes, they are useless according to many studies, yes, few residents actually care about them, and yes, ODOT installs them just about everywhere anyway.

A fresh batch of outrage is in order thanks to Bob Dyer's recent ABJ piece on a section of sound walls on I-77 that were torn down and will be rebuilt for the third time. Yes, the third time. The first version began to crumble and sink in just three months.

Version III, which will cost another $409,000 according to the piece, is necessitated because one resident called complaining that noise was still too loud and ODOT sent someone out who discovered... well, just read for yourself: