The Chelan County PUD wants a portion of the planned Confluence Parkway to have higher fencing, and another section of the roadway to be designated as a quiet zone.

The PUD has an interest in the Confluence Parkway Project because it's required by the federal government to maintain the adjacent recreational area.

PUD director of hydro licensing Michelle Smith says their noise expert suggested raising the planned wall along the Parkway above the city of Wenatchee's proposal of four feet.

"Our noise expert has recommended that we at least ask the question about a six-foot noise wall at the southern pinch point," said Smith.

The "pinch point" is the spot where the Apple Capital Loop Trail and Confluence Parkway will briefly run side-by-side right next to the Horan Natural Area.

The city's plan is to provide noise protection with a four-foot-high combination of berm and noise wall.

The PUD hired Jacob's Engineering Group from Bellevue as a noise expert to conduct a review of the city's noise study.

The utility's preference for a higher noise wall should be included in  Wenatchee's submission of a Federal Highway Administration Environmental Assessment, which the city plans to complete by the end of this year.

The PUD also wants the have special classification for the Horan Natural Area because of its close proximity to the Parkway Project.

Smith says the Federal Highway Administration will make the final decision on whether it will get what's called a Category A designation.

"We still think it's important to keep that classified, that inner Horan area, as a quiet serene area, to preserve it that way," Smith said. "And we feel it's justified to keep it as a Category A. So, that's going to be our proposal and we hope that Federal Highway will accept that as well."

The PUD has an interest in protecting environmentally sensitive land it manages as its license to operate its dams is overseen by the Federal Regulatory Energy Commission (FERC).

The Confluence Parkway project is a 2.5-mile bypass which includes a new bridge over the Wenatchee River to connect the city with Highways 2 and 97 to the north.

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