Saturday, February 21, 2004

State denies neighbors' request for sound barrier



By Lindsay Whitehurst
The Cincinnati Enquirer

WEST CHESTER TWP. - With constructon work going on along Interstate 75, about 20 yards from his property line, West Chester resident Michael Zenz and five of his neighbors on Kimberly Ann Lane think there should be a sound wall to shield their homes.

"(Highway noise) is like a constant waterfall with the occasional rolling thunder," he said.

But the homes on Kimberly Ann don't qualify for a sound wall, according to Ohio Department of Transportation environmental engineer Keith Smith.

"If we have caused a noise increase, usually a wall is the best answer," Smith said. "But they're in an auxiliary."

According to Smith, ODOT is not actually widening the stretch of 75 behind Kimberly Ann. On the stretch of I-75 between Cincinnati-Dayton and Tylersville roads, crews are adding another lane by cutting into the median strip. After construction is complete, the outermost lane will be an auxiliary lane reserved for drivers who only want to make a short trip between exits. He said he and the rest of his office will search for other solutions to the noise problem.

Zenz bought his home three years ago and has learned to ignore the noise, most of the time.

But the onset of winter means that the tree line behind his yard is bare, eliminating the only obstruction between his yard and the highway.

"There is a security issue as well," he said. "From a resident standpoint, with children, we like to know there is a barrier."

Anticipating an increase in traffic when the construction is finished, he went to the West Chester township trustees this week with a request for a sound wall. He'd heard that new sound walls were being installed in other communities.

Some neighborhoods, like Cherry Lane Farms and Saratoga Farms, have the option to get a sound wall installed because ODOT is adding an extra lane to a their stretch of I-75, between I-275 and Cincinnati-Dayton Road.




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