Some Winston-Salem neighbors say sound walls on U.S. 52 ‘like being trapped in a cage’

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- The sound walls to reduce noise around a neighborhood next to U.S. 52 and the future Research Parkway are going up. Residents who live behind the 28-foot wall say they don't believe reducing noise is the only reason.

"It's like we are closed in," said Gwen Stout, who has lived in the neighborhood for nearly two decades. "I'll be honest with you, it feels like they are closing us off from the rest of the world."

Four years ago, city and state transportation officials surveyed residents in the neighborhood that's wedged between the highway, Winston-Salem State University and Bowman Gray Stadium. The results of the survey and a number of community meetings resulted in residents wanting the sound walls that would block the expected increase in noise from the highway and the future Research Parkway.

"It's kind of like being trapped in a cage," said Quintarius Gaines, who now sees the wall instead of woods across from his front yard. "The view is pretty ugly -- big gray wall."

Residents says now that it's going up they question the size and the fact it hides them from most of the public's view.

"I think the wall is there so that when the upper crust commutes to work via Research Parkway ... they don't have to see what they consider 'us' a eyesore," said Craig Coad. "They should of just let us be open, it's like some kind of containment."

Officials say the sound wall's intent was never to be a curtain but to reduce the increase in traffic noise.

The future Research Parkway will give the residents another exit out of their neighborhood. Currently they only have one way in and out.