Los Angeles City Councilman Joel Wachs on Wednesday called on the state transportation department to build sound walls concurrently with the addition of a lane on the Ventura Freeway in the San Fernando Valley.
"The increased traffic caused by this additional lane will greatly increase freeway noise, severely impacting the surrounding neighborhoods," said Wachs, who represents parts of North Hollywood, Sherman Oaks and Studio City along the freeway. His request, in a motion to the council, was referred to the Intergovernmental Relations Committee.
A Caltrans spokesman said the agency is looking into building sound walls as part of a study on whether to add a lane to the median or shoulder of the freeway. The study is expected to be completed early next year.
Caltrans proposes to add one lane in each direction from the Hollywood Freeway to Topanga Canyon Boulevard. The $5-million project is expected to be completed in mid-1988.
Satish Chander, a Caltrans engineer, said that, if a lane is added to the median, Caltrans would probably not build sound walls. "Our experience is that the noise will not increase, or if it increases, it's insignificant," he said.
But, if a lane is added to the shoulder, Chander said, Caltrans will be required by law to build sound walls if studies show the noise would be substantially increased in adjoining neighborhoods.
The widening could be a blessing for a few areas along the freeway that have qualified for sound walls but haven't received them because of a shortage of funds. Ken Steele, assistant Caltrans director in Los Angeles, said the agency usually builds sound walls concurrently with the widening.
Wachs made his request on the eve of today's expected decision by the California Transportation Commission on whether the added eastbound lane on the Ventura Freeway should be open to all vehicles or made a diamond lane, restricted to buses and car pools.