Neighbors hope trees counter turnpike noise

MT. LAUREL, N.J. - September 20, 2012

Several 5-foot cypress trees donated by area garden centers are ready to be put in the ground by neighbors along Ramblewood Parkway.

Residents are hoping the trees will become a buffer to cut down on the noise coming from the New Jersey Turnpike, which runs right behind their homes.

"The trees, when they grow, should be about 10 feet wide and about 15 to 20 feet high. We're hoping that eventually it will buffer the sound," resident Art Bellocchio said.

Neighbors say the noise has gotten worse over the last year or so after the Municipal Utilities Authority cut down almost 100 trees and the Turnpike cleared out a number of dead trees and brush.

They say traffic sounds went up and the quality of life went down.

"My backyard is useless anymore. You cannot talk to other people when you have a party; you have to scream," resident Renata Bilder said.

Bilder says she no longer uses her back porch, it's just too noisy.

Neighbors have asked for help but the Turnpike Authority has told them this area does not qualify for a sound barrier wall, so they've decided to take matters into their own hands hoping the trees they plant will block some of the traffic noise.

"I understand budgets are tight and it's just a small piece of land, but it does help. It does help with the noise level," resident Julie Boucher said.

A Turnpike spokesman confirms some trees will be planted this fall and next spring.

They'll compliment the trees the neighbors are putting in themselves.

The newest cypress trees will go in on Saturday and while residents know it won't solve the noise problem, they say at least it's a start.

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