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Homeowners want noise wall as part of I-70 widening plan

Residents seek support of Clark commission, others in battle with state.

Homeowners in two subdivisions near Interstate 70 want state transportation leaders to consider erecting a noise wall near their homes as part of a $19.1 million widening project set to begin next year.

Residents of both the Arrow Creek and Ashbrook Estates subdivisions near Dayton-Springfield Road spoke to commissioners this week about helping them work with the Ohio Department of Transportation to hear their case. They’ve also spoken to Mad River Twp. trustees about the issue.

The half-mile barrier would cost approximately $1 million, according to ODOT.

“We’re just way too close to the interstate,” said Mary Boyle, who lives in the Ashbrook Estates neighborhood.

Residents are expected to talk with ODOT officials at the Clark County-Springfield Transportation Coordinating Committee meeting at 10:30 a.m. Friday at the Springview Government Center, 3130 E. Main St.

The widening project will increase I-70 from two to three lanes in both directions between Enon and U.S. 68, a stretch of road that measures about four miles. The project is expected to take about two years, according to ODOT officials. The project eventually is also expected widen the 3.5-mile stretch between U.S. 68 and Ohio 72, but no timetable has been set for that phase.

The state will build noise barriers near the Pleasant Valley Estates Mobile Home Park and the Limecrest Neighborhood along I-70 over the course of the widening, according to letter from ODOT officials.

However, residents in both Arrow Creek and Ash Brook Estates believe with 56 homes in the vicinity of I-70, they deserve to have the noise blocked from their area, as well as protection from debris flying into their yards from the interstate.

Approximately 52 of the 56 homes in the two subdivisions have signed a petition to have the noise wall erected, according to Arrow Creek resident Jack Mecham.

“Even the people that were the furthest from the road were absolutely for it,” Mecham said.

Mecham said a few residents were against the wall because they believe it will create more noise in the area.

He said a things combine to account for the noise, especially at night with trucks hitting rumble strips and using their engine brakes.

Detrick said he supports the initiative, which would not require local tax dollars. The project would be paid for through gasoline taxes from the federal government that flow through ODOT.

The increased traffic on I-70 expected from the widening will also increase noise in the area, Detrick said.

“I think we owe it to them to explore it and do it if we can,” Detrick said.

Commissioner Rick Lohnes wants more current data before making a decision on an updated study.

Boyle recently contacted Rep. Ross McGregor’s office about the issue. McGregor’s aides communicated with Michael J. Evans, legislative liaison for ODOT, who stated in a letter the criteria for adding a noise wall includes:

• increased roadway capacity that causes noise levels above 67 decibels;

• walls be constructed at a cost of $35,000 or less per benefiting unit and

• the majority of benefiting units desire the noise wall.

The letter states a barrier in the vicinity of Timberline and Lone Wolf Avenues would be a half-mile in length and cost $1 million, benefiting 19 homes at $53,000 per unit.

The noise walls planned at Pleasant Valley Estates and Limecrest Neighborhood, for example, will benefit more homes over a smaller distance, costing approximately $8,200 and $23,000 per unit.

However, Boyle and Mecham said the total number of homes taken into account by ODOT is less than the 55 they believe would benefit from the noise walls in the Arrow Creek and Ashbrook Estates subdivisions.

A sound wall recently erected in Madison County near Old Ohio 56 in London is sized similarly to the wall residents are hoping to have placed near the two subdivisions. However, Mecham said the wall in London benefits just 16 homes. He shared a satellite view of the subdivision with county commissioners on Wednesday. Detrick said he believes the images may help their case.

“I can go in there and say something, but I wanted them to see it for themselves,” Mecham said.

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