Man battles Caltrans over sound wall near Bonita home

BONITA, Calif. - A South Bay man who lives just feet from a noisy freeway is continuing his battle with Caltrans to build a wall to mute the noise.

It's relatively quiet inside James Harger's home, until he opens a door.

Noise from traffic on Interstate 805 near Bonita Road keeps him from getting sleep and going outside to enjoy his sun deck.

Harger had the sound measured at its peak, and it registered at 84 decibels. That's the same as a freight train, a propeller plane flying overhead or a kitchen blender.               

Harger said he's been dealing with the constant noise for 11 years. 10News asked him if he didn't expect at least some noise when he moved into a house right off of I-805.

"Yes, that's true, and I don't deny that, but back then it was livable for us," said Harger.

For more than a decade, Harger has been trying to get Caltrans to build a sound barrier. About five years ago, Caltrans told Harger it would build a sound wall on his property.

"(Caltrans) also wanted access to my property at all times," said Harger.            

He declined the offer.

Caltrans wasn't available to talk to 10News on camera, but a department spokeswoman explained funding is the biggest obstacle. She explained Caltrans doesn't have a specific pool of money it can use to try to lessen noise pollution. Instead, when there's new construction, it uses some of the money for the overall project budget to build sound walls.            

"They had told me no 12 years ago, I could live with it, but you know, the BS that this government does … makes me sick," said Harger.

Caltrans told 10News it does have a plan to build a sound wall as part of a current I-805 project, but that won't be for another three or four years.

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