Local News in Brief : Newport Beach : Coast Commission OKs See-Through Sound Wall

A controversial see-through sound wall along West Coast Highway in Newport Beach has been unanimously approved by the California Coastal Commission.

The 7-foot noise barrier will stretch a half-mile along the coast side of the highway from the Santa Ana River to 60th Street, cutting down the din of traffic for seaside residents.

Residents on the inland side of the highway had argued that the wall would collect dirt and block their view of the ocean while aggravating noise levels on their side of the road.

Meanwhile the city, which will be responsible for maintenance of the barrier, will construct regular 8- to 10-foot walls on the remaining stretches of the highway, according to Newport Beach project manager John Wolter. The bottom 3 feet of the clear wall will be of Slumpstone while the rest will be made of "probably one kind of plastic," he said. Construction will probably start at the beginning of next year, Wolter said.

Most of the wall, which was approved by the commission Thursday, is included in an $8-million Caltrans project to widen the highway to six lanes between Newport Boulevard and Highland Street. The city will pay $1.5 million.

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