SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

July 27, 2007

Route 128 neighbors making noise for some peace and quiet

Video by Mark Lorenz/Staff Photographer

PEABODY -- When the world around you gets too loud and too dirty -- ever want to wall yourself off from it?

A group of Peabody residents seeks to do exactly that. They live beside one of the nosiest, dirtiest places in the city -- Route 128 just west of Lowell Street. Led by activist Gayle Barr, they drew 25 people to a meeting at the Arboretum condominiums on Monday, seeking construction of a noise barrier between them and a road that never seems to sleep.

"Join me in a group assault," Barr told the supportive audience. "We are up against very difficult odds in trying to make this happen." The residents are inspired by the fact that it already is happening not too far away along Route 128 in Lynnfield, where a towering stucco fence is being erected by MassHighway on both sides of the road.

On the other hand, after all the efforts that have been made here in Peabody, the reason that the state decided to build that fence in Lynnfield was the source of more local frustration. Simply put -- it was on the list. In some sections, noted some frustrated Peabody residents, there are only trees and woods behind the fence.

Chuck Moody of Henry Terrace in Peabody, has lived in the neighborhood 20 years, his backyard facing the southbound lane of the highway. (For reasons not entirely clear to the activists, a wooden barrier was erected alongside the northbound lane many years ago.)

"It's more annoying all the time," Moody said, raising his voice over the rising din of hundreds of passing vehicles. "We don't open the windows."

In fact, storm windows remain in place year-round. Moody's backyard is picture-perfect with a thick lawn and a garden with lovingly tended flowers. He erected a white fence to try and keep out the racket. "And it cost $5,000."

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