August 21, 2014

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ODOT to build sound barriers in North Ridgeville

NORTH RIDGEVILLE — The steady sound of traffic at the junction of Ohio Turnpike and Interstate 480 should be lessened next year for more than 60 nearby homeowners thanks to new sound barriers.

Estimated to cost $624,000, the barriers will be erected in 2014 by the Oho Department of Transportation to reduce noise produced by truck and car traffic.

“We’d get complaints from people about noise, and we tried talking to the Turnpike several times over the years but never really got anywhere,” Mayor David Gillock said.

Bids for the project are slated to be opened in January, with a contract to be awarded sometime after that, according to Christine Myers, public information officer for ODOT’s District 3 offices in Ashland.

“Construction will likely start with the new season in April,” Myers said.

Gillock credited a confluence of factors in finally helping move the project forward.

“We got Gayle Manning as a new (state) senator, and new Turnpike and ODOT directors, and everything just came together,” Gillock said.

ODOT officials approved a required sound study of the area that produced results showing there was “a higher level of noise than normal,” which helped justify a need for the barriers, according to the mayor.

Councilwoman Roseanne Johnson, R-at-large, went door to door to survey homeowners on both sides of the Turnpike entrance-exit ramps to gauge public opinion of the need for noise barriers.

Johnson was not at Monday night’s City Council meeting where legislation authorizing the city’s cooperation in the project was introduced.

Myers said surveys of residents near sites of proposed sound barriers are not a requirement of such projects, “but in this case, having the local community involved and having local community support helps in securing financing and explaining a need for the project.”

The informal survey showed 36 residents, or 58 percent of those asked, supported the improvements.

“And of those 36, 95 percent favored noise walls,” Myers said.

Manning, R-North Ridgeville, who chairs the Ohio Senate’s Transportation Committee, met with Gillock, Johnson and Rick Hodges, executive director of the Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission.

“I heard from a lot of neighbors about the rumble strips that had been put in after an accident had occurred in the area,” Manning said. “They weren’t all that concerned about Turnpike noise that had been there for years.”

ODOT removed a small number of the strips, which helped reduce noise, but the problem was still there.

“It was horrible in the summertime when windows are open,” Manning said.

After discussing the situation with engineers, ODOT officials told Manning and the city they would move to put up sound barriers.

The barriers will extend a small existing barricade along the west side of the toll plaza that was put up some years back to prevent debris such as vehicle parts from going airborne in crashes, Gillock said.

“There was a big crash there some time ago that sent parts flying around,” Gillock said.

To be built of concrete, the new barriers will be 10 feet tall on both the east and west sides of the Turnpike plaza.

The wall on the west side will extend 600 feet while the wall on the east side of the Turnpike plaza will run for 430 feet, according to ODOT.

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.