EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

September 5, 2013

Some residents are really close to I-93 construction

Some residents can see I-93 construction from the backyard

Neighborhoods along Interstate 93 look like others on a late summer day.

People sit on back stairs and work in yards with kids at play nearby.

They just sound different.

The $800 million highway widening beyond their decks and fences provides a chorus of construction noise.

There is the repetitive beep of vehicles backing, the slamming of tailgates on oversized dump trucks, the pounding of backhoes into the earth.

"I'm being woken up between 5:30 and 6 in the morning," Michelle Everett said yesterday in the yard of her Jewell Drive home in Salem.

"My house is shaking," Everett said. "It's so noisy."

Up the highway in Windham, Squire Armour Road neighbors Matt Killian and Jim Weeks know the feeling.

"On this side of the street, I call it a dull roar," Killian said of the highway noise past Weeks's house.

Residents have complained about the removal of trees during construction, because they afforded some protection from the noise.

"We can see Canobie's fireworks so much better now," Everett said with a laugh.

Weeks estimates he spent about $11,000 for his personal sound wall — a fence, 8 feet tall and 90 feet long — to cut down on the noise, some of which it deflects, but not all.

Voices are raised in conversation to be heard.

The construction rattles his home.

"The house vibrates," Weeks said. "You can hear the windows vibrate."

This isn't just a concern about sound. I-93 neighbors also worry about what it means when it comes time to sell a home.

"This has definitely dented property values here, I believe," Killian said.

In Concord, the Legislature has a study committee meeting this summer and fall to consider how to help neighborhoods like these.

Rep. Keith Murphy, R-Bedford, raised the issue at the Statehouse when construction around the Everett Turnpike and the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport access road affected more than a dozen of his constituents.

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