Saratoga Springs residents frustrated over increasing noise on Redwood Road

A community in Saratoga Springs is concerned about the increasing noise coming from Redwood Road.

A community in Saratoga Springs is concerned about the increasing noise coming from Redwood Road. (Annie Barker, Deseret News)


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SARATOGA SPRINGS — A group of residents in Saratoga Springs is growing concerned over increasing noise coming from Redwood Road.

James and Lyn Wood have lived near Redwood Road since 2013 when it was a two-lane highway. The back of their home is just 150 yards from the center line of Redwood Road, with a strip of the Talons Cove Golf Course as a buffer in between.

"We weren't born yesterday. We know that growth is something that's going to happen, but there weren't any houses out here. We were basically on the outskirts of town and you couldn't even see Redwood Road, you couldn't even see any cars," James Wood said. "Now, we can see the bottoms of the trucks. They've raised the road that many feet."

Noise just spills into his backyard from the road now, he said. Last week, while doing yard work around 10 a.m., Wood said he started to track the number of trucks passing by and counted one at least every 30 seconds.

The Woods are part of Concerned Citizens of Saratoga Springs, a neighborhood activist group aimed at solving issues in their community. The group is worried about the noise pollution coming from Redwood Road, saying it has adverse effects on property values, the environment, the physical and mental health of community members and quality of life.

James Wood said the city has "dropped the ball" with city planning and attention has been diverted to the downtown area. While he thinks it's important to have some focus on downtown for the growing city, he and his wife feel the neighborhoods next to the highways are being neglected.

Saratoga Springs has grown rapidly over the last decade, leading to increased traffic on the roads and roads being widened to accommodate the numbers. The Woods say while they realize increased population means more traffic, they're concerned about the rise in road noise with what they say are little efforts for noise abatement.

"There's nowhere to go here. One way in and out and, yet, they're building more. We have concerns," Lyn Wood said. "This is a hot potato and no one is addressing it."

Life has gotten better, in some ways, for Saratoga Springs residents, James Wood said, but it's hard to deal with such an increase in population and traffic when there's so few avenues to get in and out of the city.

The group, made up of about 10 community members and the administrator at the golf course, also cited concerns over safety, due to speeders on the highway, and the large amount of trucks from rock plants traveling without any weight limits or load checks.

James Wood said they've asked people who live within 1,000 feet of the road to sign a petition regarding the noise, and almost everyone wants to sign.

"The noise is only one factor. The other factor is the speed and getting onto Redwood Road and off, and there's people killed," James Wood said, adding there's been bicyclists and pedestrians hit on the roadway.

What can be done

The Woods said Concerned Citizens of Saratoga Springs wants to work with the city, county and state on solutions, and get a dialogue going. Some solutions they propose include reducing the speed limit, having more officers patrolling for speed or adding sound walls. The group believes more can be done.

"If we could work together to get some solutions and we feel just getting it out there and getting some eyes and ears on this situation — I hear this drum beat more and more, I hear this feeling of discontent for the traffic, the noise — and, so somebody has to step up and get this ball rolling, because I think there's a groundswell here."

The Woods also wonder if homes next to Mountain View Corridor will start to experience the same issues as that road gets improvements in the next few years.

"It's not going to affect us, but it's going to affect them and they're our neighbors," James Wood said.

Noise walls can help reduce noise coming from a roadway, but they are only considered with new construction, UDOT regional director Wyatt Woolley said.

When UDOT begins a new project, the department will measure current noise levels and calculate what the future noise level will be after construction is completed and traffic has increased, according to UDOT's policy on noise abatement.

"Using state and federal guidelines, we find out the cost of a potential noise wall and if building it will make a reasonable reduction in noise. If we find the cost estimate to be appropriate and determine the wall will reasonably reduce noise, the issue goes to a vote," Woolley said.

Property owners who would benefit from the noise wall would be sent a ballot and a noise wall would only be built if at least 75% of the identified voters respond, and if 75% of that vote is "yes."

"So, it's a pretty high standard. But, again, we only consider installing noise walls with new construction," Woolley said. "We are not responsible for mitigating noise when a developer comes in and builds homes next to an already existing roadway."

Woolley said it is also up to cities and municipalities to make policies for developers who in some cases will make their own noise walls or abatements from nearby highways.

As for Mountain View Corridor, Woolley said a noise study will be completed for the highway, along with other roads being built or improved upon in northwest Utah County.

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Cassidy Wixom covers Utah County communities and is the evening breaking news reporter for KSL.com.

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