Plans ready for noise walls in Macon’s Pleasant Hill

GDOT taking comments on final design

jgaines@macon.comApril 3, 2014 

Two walls through Pleasant Hill to act as a buffer between the Macon neighborhood and Interstate 75 will feature eight neighborhood themes, including educational plaques.

Most of the concrete walls’ surfaces will be similar to rough stone, but eight areas will be smoothed out to bear information about the community, famous residents, the arts, schools and churches, according to plans shown Thursday evening at the Booker T. Washington Community Center. The walls will face into the neighborhood on either side.

“It’s your plan,” Jeff Dickerson, of consulting firm Enviro-Resolution, told about two dozen Pleasant Hill residents at the meeting.

“That’s what we’ve been talking about with the community leaders here in town for the last couple months,” he said.

Plans for the walls will be available for public viewing and comment for 10 days at the Georgia Department of Transportation office, 4499 Riverside Drive in Macon and at www.i16i75.com.

Earlier designs for the walls on both sides of the interstate were panned by residents, but no specific consensus emerged from comments, said Brad Hale of consulting firm Moreland Altobelli. But commenters said they wanted the design to incorporate the area’s history, he said.

“So far it looks OK,” Pleasant Hill resident Carolyn Odom said after Thursday’s formal presentation. She attended one earlier meeting where people asked to see the actual wall material, she said. Thursday, a rough concrete slab lay on a table, to be examined and touched.

The plaques to be mounted on the walls include lists of historic residents and buildings. Odom said she attended Thursday’s meeting to ask about that.

“We were wondering about one of the churches,” she said.

The New Hope Missionary Baptist Church building is in Pleasant Hill, and Odom said she wonders if it will be listed by that name or by the name of the church that now occupies it.

Peter Givens, a local community leader, said any aspects residents miss from the walls design may appear in other parts of the project.

“The noise wall is just a very, very small part of the overall mitigation plan,” he said. “There’s a lot of stuff left to do, left to talk about.”

As part of revamping a 6-mile stretch of Interstates 75 and 16 through Macon, GDOT officials plan to spend $10 million on improvements in Pleasant Hill, hoping to undo some of the damage done when the highway split the neighborhood in half 50 years ago.

The plan includes not only the noise walls but also extensive landscaping, the moving and remodeling more than two dozen houses, rebuilding the pedestrian bridge over the interstate and building two parks. While much of the mitigation work is underway, funding for the actual road construction will be available in July 2017 at the earliest.

To contact writer Jim Gaines, call 744-4489.

The Telegraph is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service