Lawyers Hill

Michelle and Brad Kline play with their children Ryan, 3, and Natalie, 9 months old, at their home in the Lawyers Hill section of Elkridge. Michelle said noise from I-95 has affected Ryan's sleep. (Photo by Nate Pesce / March 21, 2013)

Traffic can be seen zipping along I-95 through the trees from the front porch of Michelle Kline's Elkridge home on Lawyers Hill Road.

The hum of traffic is constant and inescapable, even inside her home.

"Absolutely, I can hear it inside," Kline said. "I can put my hand to the wall and feel it vibrating."

Kline was one of about a dozen residents last week who attended Howard County Executive Ken Ulman's public hearing on the fiscal 2014 budget asking that funding for a sound barrier along I-95 near her home be included in the budget.

While residents in Kline's neighborhood lobby to improve their quality of life, the county acknowledged last week it has had funding for a sound barrier in its Capital Improvement Program for "quite some time," according to county spokesman David Nitkin.

"We're ready to move now," he said.

The county has allocated $2.5 million for the project over fiscal years 2014 and 2015, according to Nitkin.

"We would like to move as soon as possible," he said.

But the state's contribution for the project is uncertain.

Funding for a sound barrier is an 80-20 percent split, respectively, between the state and county, according to State Highway Administration spokesman Dave Buck.

Plans for a 7,054-foot long sound barrier, averaging 22 feet in height, along the northbound side of I-95 from Montgomery Road to the I-895 interchange are in the works, Buck said.

The state has allocated funding for the design of the $13 million project, Buck said, and the earliest date construction could start is mid-2015.

But the $9 to $11 million needed for construction is no sure thing in 2015.

"It's pure speculation," Buck said of funds being available.

He added that the project must compete for funding with projects from across the state on an annual basis.

Lawyers Hill is one of two historic districts in Howard County, with the other being Ellicott City. In the mid-1800s, lawyers from Baltimore built their summer homes here, giving the area its name.

The community originally included the homes across I-95 along Elibank Drive, but the interstate cut the neighborhood in half.

Kline moved to Lawyers Hill in July with her husband, Brad, and three-year-old son, Ryan, from Baltimore. The Klines have since had a daughter, Natalie.

Even though they realized there were concerns about the noise from traffic, Kline said they underestimated how loud it really was.

Her biggest issue is how the noise has affected Ryan.