Thanks to the on-going efforts of Supervisor Susan Peters Sacramento County took the first step towards building the missing sound wall along the I-80 Freeway behind approximately 27 homes along Buffwood Way that Caltrans has continuously over the years refused to acknowledge any responsibility for.

On March 7, 2017 the Board of Supervisors authorized the County Department of Transportation (SACDOT) to add the sound wall as a new project as part of the Capital Improvement Plan. The cost of the project has been identified at $1,500,000.

Funding for the project is from revenue the County is receiving from the Clear Channel Digital Billboard Project located off I-80 near the former Brunner’s site that the Board of Supervisors approved in September 2016. As part of that agreement Clear Channel removed several billboards on major roadways in the unincorporated area including the one at 5500 Auburn Boulevard, the old dairy site.

Currently the homes on Buffwood backing up to the freeway either have a metal fence erected by the subdivision’s developer or wood ones that replaced the deteriorating metal fence. Residents over the years have pleaded with Caltrans to extend the existing sound wall to replace the metal/wooden fence but Caltrans has been unsympathetic.

Peters, who grew up in the Old Foothill Farms on Fort Sutter Way, took up the challenge to get a sound wall for the neighborhood after she was elected to the Board of Supervisors in 2004. She attempted to persuade the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) to support funding for missing sound walls while all the time still trying to convince Caltrans to change its opposition. During 2015 Peters was successful in securing County funds to finance half of the sound wall’s construction cost and attempted to convince the State of California to match the remaining amount needed via a legislative effort that did not result with the State forthcoming with the actual cash. Peters saw the Clear Channel Digital Billboard Project as an opportunity for the County to go it alone to finance the sound wall without having to rely on the State of California.

SACDOT estimates construction should begin next year in August 2018 and be completed in October that year.

Sound Wall

History of Sound Wall

Everyone living in the part of Old Foothill Farms between Auburn Boulevard and Greenback Lane from I-80 to Garfield knows about the Sound Wall.  It doesn’t exist!  You can hear freeway traffic throughout the neighborhood, but for those who live right up against the freeway, the situation is almost unlivable.  Read more. . . .

March 12, 2014 Update

Even though Sacramento County had agreed to provide $500,000 in matching funds for the sound wall project, it appears that grant funding originally hoped for the sound wall will not be available.  Lis Gray has asked that those who are interested in discussing/pursuing options contact her at (916) 331-1901.  

November 2013 Update

Roger Dickenson and Ken Cooley have been working with Sacramento County and California Transportation Commission.  Sacramento County has promised to provide matching funds in the amount of $500,000 for our Sound Wall.  Dickenson and Cooley have identified unspent funds from various approved projects. They are currently seeking to obtain appropriation authority for a fund for community projects such as our sound wall.  Approximate schedule would be to apply for funding for the Sound Wall in the Spring, 2014.  Go out to bid in the Summer of 2014 and if all goes well start construction in the Fall of 2014. 

Lis Gray will keep the community informed as to status and advise when/if there is an opportunity for the community to show support at a public meeting.

April 2013 Update

Lis Gray provided an update on the Sound/Safety Wall.  She shared that efforts to receive responses from the offices of Darrel Steinberg and Richard Pan’s have not been fruitful.  She mentioned a couple legal options residents could possibly pursue:

Inverse condemnation – basically constitutes an individual notifying an agency (i.e. Caltrans) that states “your action has damaged me” and requests the agency to compensate for damage.  This option, though rarely used, has been successfully applied in other communities, and upheld by the courts.

Small Claims Court – Individuals can file in small claims court against Caltrans, claiming up to $10,000 for each claim.  New claims can be made every six months until the causative situation is remedied.

Assembly Members Roger Dickinson and Ken Cooley attended our meeting to listen to our concerns regarding the need for a Sound/Safety wall.  Assembly Members Dickinson and Cooley both expressed support for the community’s need for a wall.

Assemblyman Dickinson - confirmed that SACOG is the agency our community needed to approach regarding the need for a sound wall.  He also relayed that unfortunately, SACOG’s priority is on new development, not existing communities.  He did promise to use his considerable range of contacts within the legislature and various agencies to assist us.

Assemblyman Cooley - is the representative for our community.  He shared that he pursued a sound wall for his community in Rancho Cordova.  He stated it was neither an easy nor, a quick process, which ultimately took eight years to accomplish.  However, he was very impressed with the work that our community has already accomplished.  He stated that he had formed a policy committee to explore ways in which existing, built-up communities such as ours can find the “tools” to fight for their needs, since agencies typically focus on new construction.  Cooley promised he would make calls to County Supervisor, SACOG and Caltrans on our behalf, and also promised “out of the box thinking” to come up with a solution for the sound and safety wall.