Noise Walls

I-77/ I-277 HOT Lanes and Proposed Noise Walls:

The NC Department of Transportation (NCDOT) is pursuing a public-private partnership to widen I-77 from Mooresville to Center City, with a connection onto I-277. These new lanes will be High Occupancy Toll lanes (HOT lanes), meaning drivers can use they lanes if they have multiple passengers OR if they pay a toll.

NCDOT will issue a formal Request for Proposals in early 2014 and construction is planned to begin in Fall 2014, with the lanes opening in 2017.

Background on the Proposed Noise Walls in Center City

Federal policy requires the state to study how noise from the new highway lanes will affect residents nearby. NCDOT studied traffic noise and proposed the addition of noise walls as sound barriers all along the I-77 corridor.

There are 3 noise walls proposed by NCDOT that affect Center City. (See map, below.)

  • 2 walls on the south side of the highway, between Fourth Ward and I-277. One would span from North Graham to North Poplar, and one would span from North Poplar past North Tryon.
  • 1 wall on the north side of the highway, between I-277 and the Alpha Mill apartments.

Walls will be 10 – 22 feet in height (height will vary along each wall). With the existing grade of the berm along the highway, the tops of the walls will be 30 – 35 feet high relative to the neighborhood streets.

Voting Process

It is NCDOT policy to allow residents to vote on construction of noise walls that will affect their properties. Impacts on property value or views are not considered. Only projected reduction in noise is considered, and only residents who would be positively affected by reduced noise are offered an opportunity to vote, by mail-in ballot.

In August, residents of Fourth Ward who were determined eligible by NCDOT received ballots by mail. For rental properties, both tenants and owners received ballots, but owners’ responses were weighted more heavily in the final scoring. According to NCDOT policy, ballots that are not returned are counted as “yes” votes.

Since then, NCDOT has determined that the walls on bridges can be a maximum of 10 feet high. These shorter walls provide less protection from noise, so fewer residents are benefited. This change has triggered a new vote, which will replace the results of the August vote. Fewer residents will be given a chance to vote.

New ballots will be mailed on February7, 2014.

What Will the Walls Look Like?

At our request, NCDOT prepared these visual images showing what the proposed walls might look like:

I-277 and Church Street – Existing View of Uptown

I-277 and Church Street – Visual Impact of Proposed Wall

Fourth Ward / 11th and N Poplar Street
Existing View (inset) and Visual Impact of Proposed Wall

12th and Brevard
Existing View (inset) and Visual Impact of Proposed Wall

Additional Resources

I-77 & I-277 Noise Walls Information on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Website

Charlotte Regional Transportation Organization, I-77 HOT Lanes Project Page

NCDOT Project Overview

Friends of Fourth Ward