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  1. Transportation

There's a good reason for the gaps in highway sound barrier walls

There is an increasing use of sound barrier walls along sections of the interstate and along local roads. As I understand it, these walls are intended to reduce traffic noise in homes adjacent to the roadway. I can understand that, and there is a lot of information on design and effectiveness of these walls, but some have holes in them.

For example, there is a stretch of these panels along the south side of Ulmerton Road at the 113th Street intersection. About every fifth panel has what appears to be an access hole, about two feet in diameter, located about four feet above the ground. I have also noted similar holes on sound barriers along I-75 on the way to Sarasota after the I-275 junction. What purpose do these holes serve? I've researched these walls online, and can find no mention of these holes. Can you use your resources to find out what purpose the holes serve?

The openings are emergency access portholes used to fit fire hoses through.

Special meeting notice

The state Department of Transportation has rescheduled a public workshop to review proposed intersection improvement options for Alternate U.S. 19 in historic downtown Palm Harbor.

The meeting, postponed from an earlier date last month, will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Sept. 29 at Harbor Hall, 1190 Georgia Ave., Palm Harbor. In addition to DOT staff, representatives from the Pinellas County Metropolitan Planning Organization will be on hand to talk with the public and answer questions regarding the proposed improvements.

Information on the proposed improvements is available online at pinellas county.org/downtownpalmharbor.

Barricade watch

• Beginning this week, motorists should be prepared for nightly lane closures and delays along East Lake Road from Keystone Road to the Pinellas/Pasco County line for a milling and resurfacing project. The completion date has not been published.

• Work began this week in the parking lot of Fort DeSoto Park's Gulf Pier, which includes grading the surface and improvements to sidewalks and the existing sand wall. The project is expected to run through Oct. 30.

Email Dr. Delay at docdelay@gmail.com or mail to P.O. Box 4954, Seminole FL 33775, to ask your traffic questions. Follow @AskDrDelay.

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