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Why Replace The Barrier Wall Along The Creek Turnpike?

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Passersby have asked the News On 6 why crews are building a new wall along the Creek Turnpike near Memorial when there was an existing wall there? Passersby have asked the News On 6 why crews are building a new wall along the Creek Turnpike near Memorial when there was an existing wall there?
About $200,000 of the wall's cost goes to art, thanks to a state law. About $200,000 of the wall's cost goes to art, thanks to a state law.
The Turnpike Authority says the old wall was not a sound barrier, just a retaining wall. The Turnpike Authority says the old wall was not a sound barrier, just a retaining wall.

By Dan Bewley and Scott Thompson, The News On 6  

TULSA, OK -- If you've noticed crews working along the Creek Turnpike near Memorial, you may wonder why they're installing a new barrier when there was already one there.

Why are they replacing one sound barrier with another?

They're installing a new sound barrier to keep highway traffic away from the neighborhoods. Some viewers want to know why are they replacing one wall with another?

About 55,000 cars travel this stretch of the Creek Turnpike between Memorial and Mingo every day. On each side of the highway you'll find dozens of homes.

"You got to expect living next to a highway it's going to be noisy but, yeah...it's definitely - even at night at three in the morning a truck will go by with its jake brake on, and it's just loud, wake you right up," said Grey Ferguson, Tulsa resident.

The Turnpike Authority has been working to make life better for residents. Crews are installing new concrete sound barriers designed to deflect the noise from the neighborhoods.

"Oh, we're delighted to have the sound barriers put up," said Alta Segovia of the Cedar Ridge Park Homeowner's Association.

Segovia has lived next to the turnpike for four years. She says she's noticed a big spike in traffic noise during that time.

"We used to could wake up in the morning and tell what time it is by the flow of the traffic," she said. "It seems like it's earlier in the morning, and it lasts later tonight so we're really looking forward to having a cut on that noise."

The Turnpike Authority says it had to remove a retaining wall that was only built to hold back dirt to make room for the sound barriers. The project comes with a $4 million tag. Of that amount, $200,000 of that pays for the artwork that covers the side of the walls.

It's the result of a state law called Art in Public Places that requires art to be a part of a state project if it costs more than $200,000.

"I like the art; I think it's just a little much," said Alta Segovia of the neighborhood homeowner's association. "I think we could've had a few panels with the art and then some plain ones. Because it just seems like a little much, but we're just glad to have and not going to complain about it."

The Turnpike Authority says the work is scheduled to be done in a little more than three months.

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