BRIDGEPORT — Neighborhood residents with homes near the Stevenson Expy. had a chance to vote on whether the Illinois Department of Transportation could build noise walls along the highway.
The results are in — and considering the outcry of residents when news of the walls first popped up — they might surprise you.
"Right now it looks like the significant majority of the people who are voting are voting for the sound wall," said Ald. Patrick D. Thompson (11th), who revealed the results of the vote at a recent meeting.
Regarding two proposed walls at Halsted and Quinn streets, 22 percent of voters responded and 78 percent voted "yes."
But it's not too late.
Since IDOT did not receive responses from 33 percent of the voting population, a second ballot will go out.
"And no matter what the overall participation is, it’s majority wins," Thompson said.
The second ballot was mailed out last week. It's due back on July 8, IDOT spokeswoman Gianna Urgo said.
During a series of community meetings over the last two months at neighborhood parishes, including St. Richard and St. Barbara, IDOT spokesmen offered jargon-laced descriptions of the state-proposed Interstate 55 Managed Lane Project, which could include an added lane that stretches 25 miles along the Stevenson and 11 noise walls.
Since at least 2012, IDOT bosses have proposed adding a 25-mile lane on the Stevenson to alleviate growing traffic congestion and building sound walls to combat noise from the more than 200,000 cars and trucks expected to clog the expressway commute by 2040.
In early May, Bridgeport residents within 300 feet of the proposed walls received an IDOT package including details about the voting process behind the proposed noise wall, a vote form and a stamped envelope.
Thompson said it's important that neighborhood folks who are against the wall talk to friends and neighborhoods to make sure they vote against it.
“I’m not particularly fond of it," Thompson said.
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