ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – There was plenty of peace and quiet when they moved into their homes, but the area has changed over the years. It’s busy and loud.
Now, Bernalillo County is working to make it quiet, again.
It’s supposed to be a sanctuary for Fred Wesemann and his family, especially his son, who suffers from Autism.
“It was a nice, quiet neighborhood for probably 25 years,” said Wesemann.
Yet, lately, Wesemann’s back patio feels more like the shoulder of busy highway.
“The motorcycles are especially bad. The 18-wheelers with the tall stacks — they come flying through here,” he said.
Wesemann lives off of Unser, between Paradise and Irving. The road used to be just two lanes, eight years ago, and stopped at Paradise.
Now it’s four lanes and connects Rio Rancho to I-40.
“It hasn’t been peaceful, but you just put up with it because this is my home and I don’t want to move,” said resident Theresa Montoya.
The county has taken notice.
Public Works officials say a recent noise study revealed residents are right.
“It does show that noise walls along Unser Boulevard would reduce the noise levels,” explained Bernalillo County Public Works Engineering Manager Brad Catanach.
Noise walls like the ones that line I-40 are solid concrete barriers meant to dampen the decibels for those who live nearby.
County officials say the east side of the road, where Wesemann lives, qualifies for a five-foot noise wall. The westside of the road would benefit from a nine-foot wall.
“We really need a wall,” said Wesemann.
“I’m excited. I’m very excited. Hopefully, the wall will go through,” she said.
Yet, there’s a catch.
“The county will need easements to construct the noise walls so we’re going to need support from those people who border Unser,” said Catanach.
That would mean eliminating existing walls in residents’ backyards and replacing them along the property line. County officials say they need a 10 to 15 foot easement and say they think the benefit to residents outweighs the need to reimburse them for the land.
They say the project would cost at least $500,000 but that price tag could increase.
Catanach says Public Works wants to hear from each resident whose home abuts Unser in the study area. If 51-percent of them are in favor of the wall, the county will start working to fund it.