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CDOT Halts View-Blocking Sound Barrier Construction, Compromise Considered

By Melissa Garcia

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)- A sound barrier project along C470 is at a standstill after homeowners complained that the barrier walls will block their views of nature.

Some neighbors near Chatfield Reservoir complain that the barriers, already under construction, will block their picturesque lakeside vistas and Rocky Mountain skyline.

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Ralph Miller, who bought a home that backs up to C470 on Otis Street, said he and his wife bought the house specifically to enjoy the beautiful views in their retirement.

That scenery will disappear, he said, once the Colorado Department of Transportation finishes the barrier project.

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"It feels like we're going to have to give up and find another place to end our lives," Miller told CBS4's Melissa Garcia.

The sound barrier construction is part of a larger project to expand C470 by adding an express lane in each direction between Interstate 25 and Wadsworth.

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Out of 18 surveys that CDOT sent to directly affected residents in Miller's neighborhood, 12 of them voted in favor of putting up the barrier wall. The other six voted against it.

"It just opens my heart to be able to look at that open space, to have that lake out there," said Loren Gunderson, who lives across the street from Miller. "(As far as) the noise, I made the deal with the devil 27 years ago. I've sound-proofed my house with upgrades to the windows," Gunderson explained.

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Amy Ford, Director of Communications for CDOT, said that the agency included various opportunities for public input before beginning construction on the sound barrier wall.

"We recognize that not everyone wants a noise wall if they have other things that are important to them such as view, but we also know that there are a lot of people out here who very much want the impact of the noise from a highway to be mitigated," Ford said.

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About 10 miles east of the Chatfield neighborhood along C470, Rebecca Felty is among Highlands Ranch residents who want a barrier wall bordering their homes. They can't have it.

"The sound is annoying and it's hard at 5:30 in the morning," Felty said. "I usually like to wake up at about 6 a.m., 6:30. So I'm having to wake up earlier due to the sound."

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Rebecca Felty (credit: CBS)

A sound study mandated by federal guidelines found that the noise levels in Felty's neighborhood do not warrant barriers.

A recent court ruling, however, requires that the National Highway Administration revisit the study to further explain it and possibly provide additional analysis.

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CDOT agreed to temporarily halt construction of the sound barrier wall near Chatfield Reservoir as officials meet this week with concerned residents to talk about a possible compromise.

Melissa Garcia has been reporting for CBS4 News since March 2014. Find her bio here, follow her on Twitter @MelissaGarciaTV, or send your story idea to

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