Though some might welcome the noise reduction that the new sound barriers along Interstate 20 will bring, others worry that those barriers will hide their businesses from motorists.
The $7.1 million state Department of Transportation project is meant to relieve residents near the interstate of traffic noise.
Adventure Crossing President Ed Smith said the barriers also limit the visibility of his business, though.
"For the commercial properties, being on I-20 and having the visibility is something we paid for," Smith said. "Anything that hides the business from the road we don't favor."
Smith said he was never informed by transportation officials of their plan to erect the barriers. He only became aware of them when installation started this year.
"We would not be in favor of it, and I know that just about every commercial property owner along that stretch we've been in touch with (is) not in favor of it, either," said Smith, whose amusement park on Wheeler Road is easily visible to motorists traveling that section of I-20.
After complaining about the sound barriers to DOT, Smith said he was told in June that the state agency hired a consultant to conduct a survey of property owners about the barriers. He said he was told that the survey would be conducted in July but was never contacted.
DOT spokeswoman Cissy McNure wrote in an e-mail that the Office of Environment Location intends to hire a consulting firm to conduct a "public outreach to determine where and if we can reduce or eliminate sound barriers." The consultant will contact business owners and possibly conduct a public meeting, McNure said.
The DOT has its hands full just trying to keep the barriers in place. The barriers that line Interstate 20 near Belair Road have been falling just three months after they were installed.
McNure said the concrete slabs seem to be breaking loose of their steel restraints and sliding out of place.
DOT representatives are not sure what is causing the failure. They did say that the project contractor, Marietta-based Anatek Inc., will have to cover the cost of repairs.
In the meantime, Smith said he hopes DOT will halt installation of the barriers.
"They have their place," he said. "It's just not in front of commercial property."
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