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Publish Date: 4/10/2005

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Adrienne Jacobi, 5, of Longmont helps clean up trash at Collyer Park in Longmont, just down the street from where she lives, on Saturday.Times-Call/Jason P. Smith

Life near the fast lane
Residents mixed about being close to Interstate 25


vMEAD — People whizzing by the yellow ranch-style home that sits a stone’s throw from the intersection of Interstate 25 and Colo. Highway 66 might think that living so close to nonstop traffic would get old.

But 59-year-old Bob Rademacher was born in the house next door, where his son lives now, and has always liked living next to what some call “Main Street Colorado.”

“I think it’s the best place you can live,” Rademacher said, noting that his family used to farm land on all four corners of the high-traffic intersection. “There’s been people (stopping by) who are wanting to buy it. We don’t want to sell unless it’s an outrageous price.”

Rademacher has lived next to I-25 so long he can remember when tractors used to hold up traffic on old U.S. Highway 87, which was turned into what’s now the east Frontage Road.

The section of interstate between Longmont and Loveland was built between 1959 and 1963 and improved in the 1980s.

“There wasn’t too much traffic then,” Rademacher said of his childhood.

Today, an average of 51,000 cars a day drive on the highway between Colo. Highway 119 and U.S. Highway 34.

Sitting in their tidy family room, Bob and Janice Rademacher acknowledge that living on such a high-traffic road is sometimes a mixed bag. Road crews working at night sometimes use bright lights. And traffic noise is loud in their front yard, although not inside the house.

In general, however, the Rademachers say they love the area for its family history and for its convenience.

“It’s so handy to get around,” Rademacher said, noting that he can jump onto the Frontage Road that runs in front of his house and get on either highway.

Just down the road at the Singletree Estates in Mead, some property owners don’t feel quite so hunky-dory about living along the interstate.

“There are good days and bad days,” Bill Baker said, noting that he doesn’t like to complain about it.

He said he chose to buy a home near the interstate six years ago. Grumbling about it now is like complaining about airplane noise when you buy a house next to the airport, Baker said.

He noted he has 6-inch-thick walls at his home, which some of the time keep the noise down, but not in the summer, when the traffic noise carries better in the warm, dry air.

“It sounds like they are driving on the back porch,” Baker said.

The pungent smell of diesel fuel and oil often wafts toward Baker’s home and that of his neighbor, Vicky Watson.

Watson said she hopes the neighborhood’s developer builds a berm like the one that shields the nearby high-end Vale View subdivision.

Estate homes in the first phase of Vale View in the Meadow range in price from $780,000 to $1.3 million. Vale View’s second phase, which features custom houses that start in the $700,000 range, had its groundbreaking Saturday.

Acknowledging that the posh homes were all being built within a mile of the interstate, Vale View developers built a berm to shut out the noisy, unsightly truck traffic. Having gone through several incarnations, the 16-foot-tall berm is now slated for landscaping sometime this year.

“We had lots of different ideas. ... The first one we did was rolling hills. The noise was ‘wah wah wah,’” Laura Johnston, a broker for Summit Real Estate and Marketing at Vale View, said of the undulating waves of sound created by the hills’ crests and valleys. “We had to fill it in.”

But the rebuilt berm also proved to be too low — residents who paid a premium to live at Vale View didn’t want to see the traffic — so the developer raised it.

“At this point, when you’re up (at Vale View), you really can’t see anything,” Johnston said.

The berm now runs a half-mile alongside I-25, satisfying Vale View residents.

But some people, Johnston said, are more like the Rademachers, content to live near the 24-hour excitement of the highway.

“They find it kind of magical with the heartbeat of America blazing by them,” she said.

Jenn Ooton can be reached at 303-684-5295, or by e-mail at jooton@times-call.com.

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