Schaumburg officials balk at request for I-290 soundwall
When longtime resident Michael Hohol asked Schaumburg officials this summer whether they would consider building a soundwall to cut down on noise along Interstate 290 between Higgins and Schaumburg roads, they agreed to give it a look.
Hohol told village trustees such a wall could reduce the sound of motorcycles and trucks he hears on warm summer nights from his home just over a mile west. It would also add value to homes in the Lexington Fields Estates and Lexington Fields South subdivisions that are even closer to the tollway, he said.
"If you reduced the noise, it would be a benefit to that community as well as the community where I live at Park St. Claire," he told trustees.
But even as they authorized village staff to begin researching the request, trustees questioned how widespread and even accurate Hohol's concern was.
"To my knowledge we've never addressed it, and frankly, sir, I've never heard concern about it before," Trustee Marge Connelly said.
Fellow Trustee George Dunham concurred.
"I've lived in Lexington Fields South since 1978 so we're on the east side of Meacham (Road) whereas you're on the west," he told Hohol. "I have to echo what Trustee Connelly said, this is the first time anyone has said anything to us about that being a problem."
But Hohol, while indicating he was speaking as an individual and not a representative of the Park St. Claire board of directors, said some of his neighbors share his concern.
After consulting with Illinois Tollway and Illinois Department of Transportation officials, village staff gave a report to Schaumburg's transportation committee last week about the size and cost of a wall like the one Hohol requested.
Transportation Director Karyn Robles said such a wall would be about a mile long, consisting of 258 panels 20.5 feet wide and 13 feet tall. It would cost approximately $2 million to build, she said.
Because the state has no planned construction projects along that stretch of I-290 through at least 2024, the village would likely have to assume the full cost, Robles added.
Two other potential obstacles would be the cost of acquiring necessary easements or right of way from the Schaumburg Park District due to a drainage swale between I-290 and Martingale Road, as well as the possibility of businesses along Martingale Road objecting to any loss of visibility from the tollway.
Andreo Girardi, general manager of the Chicago Marriott Schaumburg on Martingale Road, said the hotel's stance on a soundwall likely would depend on its final design and whether it impacts views.
"Visibility is very important to us," he said.
Trustee Mark Madej told Hohol he lives just north of Wise Road and that even the soundwalls near him along Illinois Route 390 -- also called the Elgin-O'Hare Expressway -- don't eliminate the noise of trucks and motorcycles.
Hohol replied that he worked for a consulting engineer with a noise engineering group while in college and it was his experience that noise barriers do help.
For the transportation committee, the $2 million cost estimate was enough to keep it from recommending any further action.
Chairman Tom Dailly said when he lived near Hohol's house, "what I heard was Higgins and Meacham," not I-290.
"I don't believe there's any money in the state of Illinois to build this wall," Trustee Frank Kozak said.
Hohol could not be reached for comment after the transportation committee's meeting. Robles said the village has received no response from Hohol since sending him staff's findings about the estimated cost of building a soundwall.