State Representative Mike Dovilla (R-Berea) recently sent a letter to Richard Hodges, Executive Director of the Ohio Turnpike Commission, asking him to take action on noise mitigation along the toll road running through Berea, North Royalton, Olmsted Falls, Olmsted Township, and Strongsville.
“Several neighborhoods throughout the 18th House District are subjected to constant noise and vibration after the construction of two additional lanes with no consideration of noise barriers,” said Dovilla. “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.”
In 2009, the Ohio Turnpike Commission received an analysis of the most cost-effective barrier to reduce noise levels for residential neighborhoods adjacent to the turnpike. Since the receipt of this report over two years ago, no action has been taken on implementing the findings.
“I urge the Ohio Turnpike Commission take immediate action to place appropriate signage banning the use of the ‘Jake brake,’ along the suburban corridors,” stated Dovilla. “In addition, I request that in the next budget cycle, a line item dedicated to the construction of noise barriers be approved.”
The text of the letter follows:
January 17, 2012
Mr. Richard Hodges
Ohio Turnpike Commission
682 Prospect Street
Berea, OH 44017-2799
Dear Executive Director Hodges:
Thank you for the opportunity to visit with you shortly after your appointment with the Ohio Turnpike Commission (OTC). We appreciate your leadership of our state’s toll road, a transportation asset of particular importance to northern Ohio.
As you know, the Turnpike traverses each city and township in the 18th House District – Olmsted Township, Olmsted Falls, Berea, Strongsville, and North Royalton – and includes a key interchange, exit 161 at Interstate 71, which provides access to Cleveland’s southwestern suburbs.
While the addition of a third lane in each direction on the toll road over the past several years has been a beneficial investment in terms of supporting our state’s trucking industry and broader concerns related to economic development, it has not come without a price. The construction of substantial concrete wall in what used to be a grassy median today serves as a noise reflector that has a significantly detrimental impact on the quality of life in neighborhoods and subdivisions that lie adjacent to the Turnpike.
Several of the communities in the district I represent are now subjected to persistent noise and vibration of their residences from the toll road. This situation not only creates an unpleasant living environment for my constituents, but also has the potential to drive down property values at a time when many northeast Ohioans have already experienced a precipitous drop in the value of their houses.
I have reviewed the November 2009 TranSystems report to the OTC, which detailed the results of two noise barrier pilot projects in noise sensitive areas, a “T”-Top concrete noise barrier wall along the perimeter of the road in Berea near Sprague Road, and median-mounted acoustic panels near West 130th Street, the Strongsville-North Royalton municipal boundary. It is my understanding that the “T”-Top walls proved a “cost-effective and viable option for future noise mitigation.” Yet, this solution has not been implemented beyond the testing phase, which was concluded over two years ago.
I write, therefore, to request that the Ohio Turnpike Commission take under consideration in its next budget cycle the pressing need to fund a specific line item dedicated to erecting appropriate noise mitigation technology in suburban areas where such devices are deemed necessary.
I further request that the Commission take immediate action to place appropriate signage along sections of the toll road in my legislative district and similar suburban areas that ban the use of the compression release engine brake, commonly called a “Jake brake,” which is a specific cause of loud noise emanating from the Turnpike. Local ordinances in several locations already prohibit their use, and additional notification to truck drivers will help ensure compliance.
Thank you for your prompt attention to these requests. I look forward to continuing our work together on the Commission.
MICHAEL D. DOVILLA
18th House District
cc: Speaker William G. Batchelder
Senator Thomas F. Patton
Mayor Cyril M. Kleem & Berea City Council
Mayor Robert A. Stefanik & North Royalton City Council
Mayor Robert G. Blomquist & Olmsted Falls City Council
Mayor Thomas P. Perciak & Strongsville City Council
Olmsted Township Trustees