Citizen Makes Much Noise To Get Sound Barriers

December 30, 1990|By Erik Nelson

June Cobb of Elkridge came of age during the 1950s, when "you just kind of trusted and went along" when the government built a superhighway near your home.

But in 1981, that trust had been worn thin by the screeching tires of tractor-trailer rigs on Interstate 95. Cobb, along with many of her neighbors in Timberview, started asking questions.

In 1990 Timberview residents went to Gov. William Donald Schaefer with letters Cobb, 55, had saved from State Highway Administration officials.

They at first promised and then backed away from building noise barriers.

On Sept. 7, in a sea of "Do it Now" Schaefer re-election stickers, the governor and then-County Executive M. Elizabeth Bobo assured residents the barriers would be built in the new year.

Despite her key role in Timberview's battle, Cobb stayed out of the spotlight.

Born and raised in Elkridge, Cobb and her husband Tyrus were some of the first residents of the Timberview community that sprung up in the early 1960s just off of Montgomery Road.

"We had no idea that highway was going to be there when we moved" in 1962, says Cobb of I-95, which now spreads soot all over her screen porch and causes her windows to vibrate from the big rigs' 24-hour drone.

"We never went to any hearing or anything. I guess we weren't politically active back then."

Cobb has written to 10 different SHA officials, more than a dozen elected officials, and the county Health Department, accumulating more than 75 letters. The community selected her in 1985 as its letter-writer after SHA officials tired of having to respond separately to inquiries from the 42 homes in Timberview.

At one point, in July 1987, Cobb wrote to Schaefer, simply: "Dear Gov.

Schaefer: PLEASE HELP!" and referred the governor to an attached letter to SHA Administrator Hal Kassoff.

With budget cuts looming, one Cobb file letter could still be useful.

Candidate Charles I. Ecker, now county executive, wrote, "I promise to follow through on this project and provide the local funding that was committed, and to see that the state honors their commitment . . ."

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