MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A new sound barrier is getting a lot of attention, but it may not catch your eye.

A transparent highway barrier went up along Interstate 35E in Little Canada this week.

Suburban Auto Body owner Dennis O’Connell pushed to have the barrier built after he was notified that the Minnesota Department of Transportation would be building a regular sound barrier along the interstate — including in front of the auto shop.

transparant sound barrier on interstate 35e Business Owner Invests In Transparent I 35E Sound Barrier

(credit: CBS)

O’Connell believes that barrier would have threatened the visibility of his business, where location is free advertising.

“I just felt that it would greatly affect … my growth, my walk-in business,” O’Connell said.

He was allowed to have a 140-foot-long acrylic sound barrier after a year of negotiations. It comes at a price tag of $100,000 — and he is footing the bill.

It’s a hefty price tag, but O’Connell thinks it will be worth it. It ensures that there is now a window, instead of a wall, driving business to his shop.

“[The business] is like having another kid, that’s what it feels like to me,” O’Connell said.

He says the wall is self-cleaning. The city of Little Canada will have to do any maintenance work.

O’Connell will be responsible for any damage or repairs to the wall.


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