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Lake Sanctuary residents want noise barrier after Matthew causes tree removal

Brush that helped reduce highway noise removed after flooding during hurricane

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – People living in one Jacksonville Beach community say they're miserable after a big change caused by Hurricane Matthew.

After Matthew churned up the east coast of Florida in early October, residents of the Lake Sanctuary neighborhood say the brush and trees that had built up in their drainage system was removed, which has left them with sleepless nights. 

Now, they're taking matters into their own hands by starting a petition. Residents are asking people to sign it so they can get a noise barrier, and get the attention of the state. 

"Sometimes, where there's a super loud motorcycle, it'll wake up my son Asher," Bruce Weyer, a Lake Sanctuary resident, told News4Jax on Wednesday. "We have to go back in there and put him down, and so the whole thing can be really frustrating, and interrupting."

The neighborhood is an ideal place for anyone to raise a family. But for Weyer and about three dozen other families on his block, there's just one issue: the sound of heavy traffic going by every day just a few yards away from the back of their homes. 

"There'll be a really loud motorcycle or cars getting onto the on-ramp that are pressing the gas pedal and it gets extremely loud, so it could wake the kids," Weyer said. "It's really frustrating at times."

But it wasn't always that way. This time last year, neighbors say, there were thick trees and brush lining the road that helped reduce the noise from the highway. But due to issues with a drain, including severe flooding in two homes during Hurricane Matthew, much of the brush had to be cleared.

Residents say all that's left now is a noisy highway with no barrier. That's why neighbors are petitioning the Florida Department of Transportation for help in hopes the agency can create a noise barrier that will restore their quality of life.

FDOT sent News4Jax the following the statement:

"FDOT has inquired about the noise wall to the agency's planning engineers. They're the folks who typically align the noise walls when construction projects occur. A lot of research testing and monitoring goes into that process. The agency has not received anything conclusive back."

As of Tuesday, about 85 people had signed the petition so far. 

Neighbors also met with Jacksonville Beach Mayor Charlie Latham, who said he will personally deliver the petition to FDOT this week. Latham said he will also urge FDOT to help the residents come up with some sort of noise barrier.