There has been many an interrupted barbecue and telephone conversation along Martha Ann Drive. Residents have learned about decibel levels and how to operate a sound meter as well.
The constant roar of traffic on the San Gabriel River Freeway has been a fact of life for them since the freeway opened in 1966, but now, relief is in sight.
A 12- to 18-foot soundwall will be built along the stretch of the freeway, between the San Diego Freeway and Katella Avenue, behind homes on Martha Ann Drive.
An informal groundbreaking for the project will be held today at 10 a.m. at the home of John Buttler, a retired Navy commander, on Martha Ann Drive.
Del Clark of Rossmoor Homeowners Assn. said much of the neighborhood was involved in the effort to secure a soundwall, but Clark gave special credit to residents Eric Christensen and Milt Peterson, who he said "almost single-handedly brought this thing to fruition."
Gustave Brickman bought his home in the late 1950s and is one of the many original homeowners still living in Rossmoor. He said he has been involved over the last dozen years in getting the project built.
"It was like waging battle, getting this thing put in," he said. "You charge in and you'd have all these meetings and you'd squabble, then you would retreat. Lots of people got disgusted and washed their hands of it, and still others would rush into the breach and the meetings and squabbling would start again."
Construction of the $2.3-million soundwall will begin in late November. The wall will be erected by Maya Construction Co., a Tucson, Ariz.-based firm, said Cymantha Atkinson, associate transportation analyst for the Orange County Transportation Commission. The wall is expected to be completed by early August.
The Rossmoor soundwall project was deemed of low priority by the state because those moving into the then-new Rossmoor development in the late 1950s were informed of the state's plans to build the freeway.
"State law said if you were warned a freeway was going to be put in, the priority of putting up a soundwall there was much less," Brickman said.
The county, which spearheaded the fight for the soundwall in unincorporated Rossmoor, tried for years to find funding and waded through the noise study and design phases.
Then, earlier this year, the Orange County Transportation Commission put out the word that reserve funds earmarked to build soundwalls were available.