The trees fell ... now it makes a sound - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

The trees fell ... now it makes a sound

Residents on Old Highway 95 say noise from railroad is no longer blocked

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Posted: Wednesday, February 23, 2011 12:00 am

Ann Jurcevich has noticed a change recently at her home fronting Old Highway 95.

It shakes.

Rattles, really, whenever a train shoots by on the railroad tracks across the street from her Rathdrum abode.

The sound pierces the walls, too, she said.

"The noise is profound," said Jurcevich, 47. "It used to be you couldn't hear the trains unless you were outside. Now you can hear it inside, and it's really disturbing."

What changed?

The trees.

Lakes Highway District had about 2 miles of trees alongside Old Highway 95 chopped down last week, on the stretch between Chilco Road and Highway 53.

What Jurcevich and her neighbors have discovered, she said, is that the trees had acted as a barrier to dust, noise and vibrations from the trains she said pass by several times a day.

"We haven't heard of anybody who lives along 95 who is pleased with it," said Jurcevich, who has lived there 15 years.

Lois Pokorny, who lives on Old Highway 95 just north of Garwood Road, said the noise is terrible.

"We are very disappointed," said Pokorny, who has resided at the house with her husband for six years. "Not only do we hear the trains, but the traffic. It's like stepping out on the highway every morning. We're going to plant trees all across our property, both for the noise and so people don't look in at us."

But that's just the sacrifice of improving transportation, according to officials from Lakes Highway District.

The trees were removed both for safety and road preservation purposes, said Commissioner Marv Lekstrum, and to prepare for a new frontage road the Idaho Transportation Department will put in sometime next year.

"I like trees, and I very much would like them between me and railroad tracks, no question about it," Lekstrum said. "But we have to make our decision on a little wider basis than the individual homeowner."

Joe Wuest, road supervisor for the highway district, said there were multiple safety concerns stemming the thick wall of pines bordering the right side of the road.

The removal provides a clear zone for drivers, reducing the chances that a car running off the road will hit a tree, Wuest said.

"We have heard about accidents on roadways, some accidents where people hit trees and you see kids get hurt," Wuest said, adding that he isn't aware of such accidents happening on that stretch of road.

According to an e-mail from district Engineer Eric Shanley, the tree removal was motivated by recent accidents within the district and the state.

"Whenever possible, it's been our unwritten policy to remove trees within the public right-of-way, and/or property that adjoins the public right-of-way, if we have permission and if those trees create a hazard to the traveling public," Shanley wrote.

The shade from trees also increases freeze thaw action on the road, Shanley reported, which causes black ice and also degrades the roads.

Tree clearing, which Shanley estimated at $3,000 to $4,000, is cheaper than rebuilding a mile of road, which can cost up to $1,000,000.

"Clearing trees is the lower cost alternative," he wrote.

ITD spokespeople could not be reached on Monday or Tuesday.

There are seven homes and several businesses along the cleared section of the old highway.

The district held an open house discussing the tree removal last fall, Wuest said, and there were no complaints.

"They (Neighbors) were all for it," he remembered. "Most were business owners, who for the most part were thinking about visibility."

Jurcevich said the trees haven't been a safety issue before, and she doesn't see why they must go now.

"It seems this is a nonsensical project," she said.

Chris Pokorny, president of North Idaho Post and Pole at 51773 Old Highway 95, acknowledged the noise will likely be greater with the trees absent.

But it's worth it for the visibility it gives to his company, which has been at the location since 1964, he said.

"If think for us as a business, they'll be able to see us from Highway 95 better," said Pokorny, who is related to Lois Pokorny. "We haven't had any problems."

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  • will-- posted at 3:35 pm on Wed, Feb 23, 2011.

    will-- Posts: 923


    Buyer beware!

    You were probably did not realize that you moved to a location that is directly under the flight pattern for runway 1/19 at the CDA airport, it has been there since 1941.

  • pasadena posted at 10:25 am on Wed, Feb 23, 2011.

    pasadena Posts: 1

    Its called progress. I say somethings are better off being left they way they are.

  • straight up posted at 8:50 am on Wed, Feb 23, 2011.

    straight up Posts: 934

    Slow news day....zzzz...zzzz....zzzzz...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz....

  • numbr1dolly posted at 5:38 am on Wed, Feb 23, 2011.

    numbr1dolly Posts: 1

    here is my take on this subject no offence to the person who is complaining about this but the trees are gone and to get them back will take years so stop complaining i have been living off of hayden and ramsey for the past 20 years and we have a ton of noise everyday with airplanes flying way to low and traffic and also kellys tires as well no one will do anything about that so we never complain about it. whats the point when no one will licen anyways i think there are more pressing matters to talk about that are more important then some trees dont you think so maybe we should focus on those issue then this.

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