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posted: 9/21/2012 5:30 AM

Noise walls may separate Hoffman Estates homes from CN tracks

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Residents in Hoffman Estates-area neighborhoods whose houses are near Canadian National railroad tracks may soon have a noise wall separating their homes from the trains that pass through the village each day.

CN Railroad, which bought the EJ&E railroad in 2009, has agreed to either install noise walls on railroad property that borders parts of three subdivisions or provide funds for noise wall alternatives.

The plan affects the Winding Trails/Hunters Ridge subdivision from Golf Road to Cannon Crossing Park; the Estates of Deer Crossing subdivision from Cannon Crossings Park to Shoe Factory Road; and the Bridlewood subdivision from Shoe Factory Road to south of I-90.

Residents are invited to a public meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 25, at Timber Trails School, 1675 McDonough Road, to discuss the noise wall proposal.

Mike Hankey, the village's director of transportation and engineering, said the plans affect about 90 homes. He said he did not know how much money CN would spend on either option.

Presentations on drainage and noise evaluations along with a discussion on potential alternatives to the noise walls -- such as landscaping or sound-insulating windows and doors -- will take place at the meeting.

"We haven't really formally presented those options or heard any feedback on those yet," Hankey said of the alternatives. "What we hope to have is a good response and good constructive input on what (the residents) would like to see."

Information from the meeting will be passed along to the village board, which will make the final decision for walls or alternatives. Each subdivision could have a different outcome.

A study by CN, which was found to be valid by analysts, predicted that noise walls will result in a noticeable five to nine decibel reduction in noise for homes on the same side of the street as the tracks. Landscaping would not result in measurable noise reductions.

The village board plans to make a decision on the noise walls or alternatives by Dec. 1, Hankey said.

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