State Rep. Mike Dovilla, R-7, said noise walls on the Ohio Turnpike are a step closer to reality.
Dovilla said he received a commitment from the Ohio Department of Transportation that mitigating turnpike noise will be one of the first projects undertaken if the state’s toll road issues new bonds.
Strongsville officials have for years sought relief from traffic noise for residents who live along the turnpike.
Dovilla asked ODOT Director Jerry Wray and Ohio Turnpike Commission Executive Director Rick Hodges about using money from the sale of turnpike bonds for noise mitigation during a committee meeting.
He got the answer he was looking for.
“I was pleased that Director Wray, in response to my questions on noise mitigation, stated he envisions, ‘one of the first things that we will do, right across the Turnpike, is we will have a program to address those issues,’” Dovilla said in a news release.
Traffic noise has been an issue ever since the turnpike added a third lane nearly two decades ago, but the cost of erecting sound barriers -- about $1 million a mile -- has been prohibitive.
Officials from Strongsville, Berea, Olmsted Falls and North Royalton formed a civic action group called Working Together to Make A Difference several years ago to address noise issues along the turnpike.
A pilot project tested two types of sound barriers in Berea and North Royalton.
But new money may be available for road projects soon. Gov. John Kasich wants the turnpike to issue up to $1 billion in bonds by next fall, and another $500 million four years later.
Officials believe they could leverage the bonds with federal and local money to raise $3 billion.
Last year, new safety/sound barriers were constructed on the westbound lanes of the turnpike between Ridge and York Roads in North Royalton. Similar walls are slated to go up this year on the eastbound lanes.
Dovilla has been a vocal proponent of sound barriers.
"Several neighborhoods throughout the . . . district are subjected to constant noise and vibration after the construction of two additional lanes with no consideration of noise barriers,” he said last year. “This not only impacts the quality of life for residents who have lived here for decades, but also has the potential to decrease property values.”