Her home backs up to Interstate 75. The noise may not be the worst of it

Beth Carter’s backyard may be the closest of any in Manatee County to Interstate 75.

There’s nothing separating her Manatee Palms neighborhood, located north of State Road 64 — roughly midway between Tom Bennett Park and Cracker Barrel — from the raging traffic other than a guard rail.

She would like a noise wall — and she may get one.

“We have had accidents that ended up in our backyard. When the traffic is backed up, I could go out there and sell coffee. It’s that close,” Carter said. “We’ve had a tire come off a truck on I-75 and end up in our yard.”

Carter recently read that residents at University Place, a gated-community located off I-75 north of University Parkway, have been lobbying for a noise wall, after being left out of plans that would erect noise barriers at most other communities from Creekwood south to near University Parkway.

Carter says she feels their pain, but what about her blue-collar neighborhood, where the noise is arguably even worse?

“I have heard that we might get a noise wall in two years,” Carter said.

When she moved into the Manatee Palms neighborhood 30 years ago, I-75 was already there, but it wasn’t carrying near the traffic load that it is now, she said.

Brian Rick, a communications specialist with the Florida Department of Transportation, said in an email Thursday that two new noise walls will be constructed as part of the planned U.S. 301-Interstate 75 interchange project. New noise barriers accompanying the massive interchange project could include Carter’s neighborhood.

The $190 million project includes constructing new bridges over the Manatee River to accommodate up to 10 traffic lanes, a new northbound exit ramp and a new southbound entrance ramp.

In addition, the existing partial cloverleaf interchange will be replaced by a constricted diamond configuration.

Originally slated to begin this fall, the U.S. 301-Interstate 75 interchange project has been moved to fiscal 2020-21.

“In doing so, we were able to let the project in July 2020; technically, seven months later,” Rick said in an email.

FDOT has commenced a managed-lanes study for I-75 from the Bradenton area to Naples. The study will re-examine noise impacts along the entire corridor and could lead to additional noise walls being added to some areas, officials have said.

The study can be followed at swflinterstates.com.

Money has been budgeted for the I-75-U.S. 301 project, which is expected to be completed sometime in 2022 or 2023, officials have said.