BY FREDA MIKLINGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER
Thirty-one years ago, the Greenwood Village City Council began a program for construction of noise walls to insulate residential neighborhoods adjacent to arterial streets from the sound of ever-increasing traffic. The city did not establish a maintenance plan for the seven miles of walls for which it built or acquired. Since the beginning of the program in 1988, only repairs required from major damage, like cars crashing into the walls, have been performed.
In 2019, GV retained Atkinson-Noland & Associates of Boulder for $46,585 to inventory and inspect 24 noise walls around the city for which GV is responsible. The noise walls are located around residential areas all around the city, including Belleview from Franklin to University, Cherry Creek Village North, Cherry Creek Village South, Dayton Farms, DTC Roundtree, Green Oaks, Greenwood Acres, Greenwood Gardens, Huntington Acres, Orchard Farms, Panorama Point, Sundance Hills, Sundance Valley, and along University Boulevard.
At a city council study session on August 5, Justin Williams, engineering manager in the city’s public works department presented Atkinson-Noland’s 61-page detailed report, with inspection notes and photos of each of the 24 walls. It contained a description of the condition of each of the noise walls and information about any damage that needs to be addressed (e.g., vertical cracking, horizontal cracking, mortar deterioration, etc.). The consultants also categorized needed repairs by priority level, recommending some be done in the next six months, while others could wait for as long as 10 to 15 years. They also estimated the cost for all recommended repairs for the 24 walls, from high to low priority, which totaled $8.4 million.
After reviewing the report, Councilwoman Anne Ingebretsen asked Williams if any of the damage discovered was as a result of a construction defect for which the city might have any recourse. Williams answered, “Not with the age of the construction, no.” He added, “The large majority of what we see here is just typical deterioration.”
Councilmember Dave Bullock asked about the cost of building new wall panels instead of repairing them and concluded that it was less expensive to replace a wall panel than repair it. Public Works Director Jeremy Hanak pointed out to Bullock that he was comparing the cost of replacing only the high priority wall panels, (which were 19 percent of the total), to the cost of repairing allthe wall panels that had been identified as needing to be fixed, (which were 83 percent of the total). Hanak estimated the cost of replacing all the noise wall panels to be $11 million.
Mayor Pro Tem George Lantz suggested, and later Councilmember Anne Ingebretsen agreed that, in addition to addressing the identified repair issues, the city should formulate an ongoing maintenance program for the noise walls similar to what it uses for streets and pavement.
John Jackson, city manager said, “42 percent of the walls were in the low priority (category)…and we’re hoping to maintain those so we don’t get to the point where we replace them….We don’t think that the overall cost will be anywhere near there (the $11 million quoted by Hanak) because we’re not going to rebuild seven miles of walls…We want to come out of this with a maintenance plan to go forward to budget appropriately to maintain the walls that we own.”
Bullock responded, “Well, the counsel that I would give to you is to try to understand why the cost of repairing a wall is equal to or more than the cost of replacing a wall….I think we need to make sure that we’re not being taken advantage of because we’re a municipality and oftentimes contractors like to try to charge municipalities more….”
2018 All Rights Reserved. Villager Publishing |