Fairfield Residents Make Rallying Call For Sound Barriers At I-95 Rest Area

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Fairfield residents hold a protest Saturday as they seek to have sound barriers built at the I-95 northbound rest area. Kurt Potter holds a sign saying barriers would help protect the nearby bird sanctuary.
Fairfield residents hold a protest Saturday as they seek to have sound barriers built at the I-95 northbound rest area. Kurt Potter holds a sign saying barriers would help protect the nearby bird sanctuary. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Fairfield residents hold a protest Saturday as they seek to have sound barriers built at the I-95 northbound rest area. Construction materials can be seen behind them at the Exit 22 rest stop.
Fairfield residents hold a protest Saturday as they seek to have sound barriers built at the I-95 northbound rest area. Construction materials can be seen behind them at the Exit 22 rest stop. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern

FAIRFIELD, Conn. -- Fairfield residents once again took to the streets Saturday as they seek to have sound barriers installed at the under-renovation rest area on northbound Interstate 95.

About two dozen people gathered at the intersection of the I-95 off-ramp for Exit 22 and Round Hill Road beginning at about 10 a.m. They held signs and waved at passing motorists, with many motorists honking their horns in support as they drove by.

Kurt Potter, who was holding a sign that said "Keep All Our Little Birds Safe" in reference to a nearby bird sanctuary, said a barrier should be installed and called it simply a matter of fairness. He pointed to the installation of sound barriers by the rest stops in Darien and questioned why Fairfield couldn't have a barrier installed.

"It is not an unusual concept here. Why is Fairfield different?" he said. "There is a fundamental sense of fairness at play here, too. Why not us? Why others and not us?"

Traditionally called sound barriers, the safety barriers that the group hopes to get built would decrease noise as well as light and air pollution while also keeping the local community safe from potential threats at the rest area. 

The barriers would also promote safety, said Sarah Essig. She described an incident last year in which a trucker spotted the track at nearby Fairfield Ludlowe High School from the highway, entered the property and used the track and the indoor workout rooms before being arrested on trespassing charges last May.

With the renovation work still ongoing at the rest area, the community has a chance to persuade the developer to erect the barriers.

The renovation work at the rest stop is being done by Project Services, which has the statewide contract for the job, said state Rep. Kim Fawcett, D-Fairfield.

Fawcett, along with others, have met with the company to try to persuade it to add the barriers to the project. However, those discussions have failed to come to a resolution. Fawcett said it was simply a matter of money.

"It is cost, absolutely cost," said Fawcett, who added the issue is also one of fairness.

"It is absolutely an equity issue. Why does one community get safety barriers, get walls, and the other community doesn't?"

State Rep. Brenda Kupchick, R-Fairfield, along with state Sen. John McKinney, R-Fairfeld, will hold a meeting Wednesday to discuss the issue with the developer, state transportation officials, Fairfield First Selectman Michael Tetreau and other members of Fairfeld's state delegation. The meeting will be held at the Fairfield Board of Education's conference room.

The Darien Land Trust worked years ago when the rest area project in that town was still in the planning stages to have the sound barrier included in the contract for the renovations, Kupchick said.

For whatever reason, that didn't happen in Fairfield, she said, and now the community has to lobby for the barriers.

"It is kind of frustrating that Darien got something, and it is kind of frustrating that we did not get something," she said.

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Comments (4)

When people bought their houses, did they not realize there was a highway there?

Like the Whitehead house, this just something for people to complain about. Give it a couple months and people will forget about it.
Or, put up the one million and build the barriers yourselves.

Seems Fairfield exit would benefit from sound barriers. It is a residential neighborhood. No businesses need exposure to highway traffic in that area. I used this exit for many years when I worked in that area, and its another world off that exit behind the rest stop. A really nice area that would be even better with some protection. Figure out the cost and bill the town, what's the big deal? Isn't it the time to do it now while the construction is underway?

I think it's important to note that not ALL abutters to a highway want sound barriers, and for good reason.

Most any kind of business, for example, has paid very high prices for that highway exposure, so traffic sees their facility. It gives It would absolutely not be appropriate for those to be blocked by any barrier interrupting that view.

I do NOT know that particular stretch of highway in the article. I am making a general view on another side of this type of issue, just as an FYI.

Thanks.

Despite a massive rally on May 3, 2014 by hundreds of neighbors, parents and students protesting the fact no safety barriers are part of the planning at the newly renovated I 95 rest stop areas in Fairfield, another rally occurred on Saturday, June 21 at 10:00 a.m. at the I 95 ” Welcome to Fairfield “ entrance on Round Hill Road.
We now learn that Project Services, LLC, the company responsible for the construction of rest stops along the I 95 corridor, constructed a safety barrier in Darien for a “garbage problem” but refuses to install them in Fairfield. Apparently Project Services appears unconcerned that the Fairfield Service Plaza is surrounded by three schools, Roger Ludlowe Middle and High School and Tomlinson Middle School. In fact, Tomlinson abuts the northbound side where children playing sports on their playing field are in plain view from the Trucks Stops/Service Plaza leaving these students vulnerable to possible crime.
We also have the Audabon Birdcraft Sanctuary within a stone’s throw from the Fairfield I 95 Southbound Truck Stop/Rest Area which hosts thousands of school children each year and where hundreds of bird species that visit the sanctuary are now in jeopardy from increased air pollution from the trucks that park in the plaza. Moreover, the Audabon Birdcraft Sanctuary is celebrating its 100th birthday this year and wouldn’t a fitting birthday present be the construction of safety barriers?
What will it take to convince Project Services, LLC that safety barriers at the Fairfield Service Rest Stop Areas are not a luxury but a necessity? It is inconceivable and irresponsible that these service Plazas in Fairfield were planned with no safety barriers in their budget. It is as though Project Services, LLC has said to the Town of Fairfield, “Drop Dead ! “

Faith A. Ricciotti
241 Papermill Lane
Fairfield, CT 06824