Residents near Westside Parkway upset about no sound wall

Residents near Westside Parkway upset about no sound wall »Play Video

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — As the next segment of the Westside Parkway is under construction, neighbors who live on San Simeon Avenue between Allen and Jenkins roads are upset that no sound wall has been erected.

"My primary concern is safety," said Kristen Cimental, who lives on San Simeon. "I have a 7-year-old and a 12-year-old that are in my backyard playing, and they're not going to be safe."

With construction already underway, neighbors said the heavy equipment in use already presents a noise problem. They said a sound wall 12 to14 feet tall should have already been erected to protect them from noise, accidents and pollution.

But city officials say a sound study was done and results showed that under federal criteria, a sound wall for the area is not warranted.

"Our study did not show the need for a sound wall in that area," said civil engineer and Westside Project manager Luis Topete. "One of the main reasons for that is because the houses in that particular location are further away than any other residence."

Topete added that the homes in question are anywhere between 300 to 800 feet away from the freeway once it's completed.

But, neighbors aren't buying it.

"That was not the bill of goods that we were sold," said neighbor Pam Binns.

"All along this project everyone was told that we were going to get a 12 to14 foot wall and the freeway would be recessed below grade," she said.

Bakersfield City Manager Alan Tandy disputes that.

"That neighborhood was not promised sound walls. There was a comprehensive study," said Tandy.

If a sound wall were to be built in that area, the cost could be significant. Funds to build a sound wall would have to come from local sources, said Tandy.

But neighbors are not giving up. They plan on meeting with city and county officials to press their case. Fourth District Kern County Supervisor David Couch represents the area. Couch said he has spoken with several officials about the matter and that he is cautiously optimistic that something can be done to resolve the issue.

This segment of the Westside Parkway, which extends from Allen Road on the east to Heath Road on the west is expected to be completed by the end of the year.