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MoPac sound walls to come down for repairs

Monday the contractors for the MoPac Improvement Project will start taking down the sound wall they put up a year and a half ago. Small cracks in the concrete are requiring them to make repairs. The project will cause additional lane closures for a couple weeks -- possibly though Christmas. (CBS Austin)

Monday the contractors for the MoPac Improvement Project will start taking down the sound wall they put up a year and a half ago. Small cracks in the concrete are requiring them to make repairs. The project will cause additional lane closures for a couple weeks -- possibly though Christmas.

Homeowners near northbound MoPac and Enfield Road are in for some bright and noisy nights.

"There should be a lot of lights and beep beep beep," says Verlis Setne who lives near the first sound wall to come down.

When Setne moved into her home off the MoPac frontage road in 1979, her street was just a dirt road and the traffic was nothing like it is today. A year and a half ago she watched MoPac's first sound wall go up. "They were good about it, but I can sleep through a lot," she says.

However, now she's eager for the sound walls to come down. Ever since the wall was built she's been curious if it's really made her neighborhood any quieter.

"I keep wondering -- because the frontage road has quite a bit of traffic -- if some of that sound is bouncing off that wall and coming back because it's pretty noisy," Setne explains. For the next few weeks as the wall comes down, she'll get her chance to find out.

Steve Pustelnyk, director of community relations for the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, says the walls have hairline cracks coming to the surface.

"All of the walls that look like this on the project are going to go through the same retro-fit to get rid of those panels that may be defective," Pustelnyk explains.

The cost of re-doing the sound walls will be footed by the contractor. "Since it's still in the course of the project they do need to replace these now," he adds.

While it is a setback, Setne doesn't think it's all bad news -- in fact she's all ears

"If it's down, I will be able to see whether it really is making a difference for me," she says.

For at least a couple weeks, two northbound lanes of MoPac will be closed from 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. from Ladybird Lake to Enfield Road. The Cesar Chavez/Sixth Street on-ramps will also be closed nightly while repairs to the sound wall are underway.

The first sound wall repair is expected to take two weeks -- possibly three. Then crews will move on to making other sound wall repairs. The entire process will take several months.

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