Today’s news:

State DOT reviewing sound walls

The state Department of Transportation is still working out details for building noise walls along the Long Island Expressway in Douglaston, Little Neck and parts of Bayside, one community official said this week.

Most of those details concern potential sound barriers on the north side of the LIE between Marathon and Douglaston parkways, said Community Board 11 President Bernard Haber.

The DOT was required to offer sound barriers to residents affected by noise from the LIE as part of the Cross Island Parkway-LIE interchange project. A 1999 survey of eastern Queens residents yielded such a low response rate the state DOT could not get a consensus on whether residents wanted the noise barriers.

Seeking a higher response rate, the agency recanvassed the area in October and November 2001. Only people identified in DOT studies as being affected by noise from the LIE or those who would be affected once the current construction is completed were surveyed. The state DOT could not be reached for comment this week on the results of the survey.

In 1999 the DOT was seeking to build 12 sound walls, the DOT said, but since then the state has decided at least two of the proposed barriers — on the north side of the LIE near Douglaston Parkway — would not be cost-effective to construct. The agency has proposed vegetative screening for that area instead.

Some residents living near the now eliminated barriers have protested, and Haber said the DOT was working with them to solve the problem.

“They are seeing what they can do as far as extending wall No. 6 to the west,” Haber said.

If the DOT needs access to private property to build a sound barrier, the spokesman said, and several homeowners do not want a noise wall it can become too expensive for the state to construct them. That is why the state sometimes cannot build a wall even when a majority of residents want one.

Haber, a retired engineer, said residents near Overbrook Street in Douglaston must decide whether to approve a noise barrier because construction of that particular sound wall would force the state to acquire a 2-foot portion of residential property.

A DOT supervisor acknowledged last fall the screening of trees and shrubbery offered little protection from noise but did give residents a visual barrier to the highway.

Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 146.

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