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Denton neighborhood awaits walls to help tone down I-35E traffic

Profile image for Seth Voorhees
Seth Voorhees, NBC5

From the front yard of her home on Lindsey Street in Denton, Brittany Small also has a front seat to Interstate 35E. The action is constant.

"I-35 never stops," she said.

Inside or outside her home, she also has a front seat to another component of living near a major highway: the constant traffic noise.

"With the engine braking from the 18-wheelers, you can hear it, and it's constant," Small said. "It's crazy."

The Texas Department of Transportation began the 35Express project in fall 2013, expanding lanes on a 28-mile stretch of I-35E and Interstate 35 from Interstate 635 in Dallas to U.S. Highway 380 in Denton. The $1.4 billion first phase is nearing completion. 

Road work has brought congestion and more traffic lanes. For those in Denton's Denia neighborhood, it's also brought noise, which is noticed by some neighbors more than others.

"It's 365," said Small, referring to the number of days in a year.

The project's only sound barrier currently is a concrete wall separating I-35E from Murchison Performing Arts Center on the University of North Texas campus. TxDOT said despite concerns from a handful of neighbors, that was the only such wall that qualified under the first phase.

"This is a multibillion-dollar project that was divided into two phases," said Mark Nelson, the city of Denton's director of transportation.

Nelson and other leaders were updated this past week on the progress of 35Express. TxDOT said four additional sound barriers will be part of the project's second phase. How they'll be paid for remains an issue. The Texas Legislature has yet to allocate any funding for Phase 2, which still could be five to 10 years away, TxDOT spokeswoman Donna Huerta said.

Knowing Denia will get sound barriers eventually helps, Small said.

"I think anything they would do to make the community happier would be beneficial"

SETH VOORHEES is the Denton County reporter for NBC5 (KXAS-TV).

FEATURED PHOTO: The wall that runs along the Interstate 35E frontage road in front of Murchison Performing Arts Center on the campus of the University of North Texas acts a sound barrier to cut down on the traffic noise of the busy highway. More walls will be put in place with the second phase of the 35Express project in the coming years.
Jake King/DRC