Wednesday, December 20, 2000

Sound barriers get tepid reviews

Not all pleased with prospect

By Allen Howard
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        ANDERSON TWP — Residents who live along a seven-mile stretch near Interstate 275 from U.S. 50 to Five Mile Road had a chance to decide Tuesday night whether they want sound barriers and if so, what kind.

        About 250 people came to a meeting at Anderson High School to see designs of the sound barriers, prepared by the Ohio Department of Transportation and its consultant, Balke Engineering of Columbus.

        The residents saw where the barriers would be built as part of a $38 million project to widen I-275 from two to three lanes in each direction.

        They were asked to fill out a questionnaire that gave them a chance to select a type of barrier; its texture, such as stone, wood, brick or fluted; its color, light natural, dark natural or gray; or to select a vegetative screening that ODOT officials said would not abate noise.

        Tim Dorson King of the 600 Block of Asbury Road, was angered because the designs presented showed his side of the freeway would not get barriers.

        ODOT has determined that sound barriers where Mr. King lives would not be cost effective because there are not enough houses on that side.

        “How can they justify putting a sound barrier on the north side and not put one on the south side?” Mr. King said. “I pay just as much taxes as the people on the other side of the freeway, and I want a wall. It is cost effective to put more lanes and more noise, but not for me and my family.”

        Pinckney Hill, ODOT En vironmental Supervisor, said ODOT is limited to spending $25,000 per house to build the barriers. He said on the side where ODOT determined that barriers could be built, there were 270 homes, 20 multiple apartment units, a church and a park.

        “We are limited to what we can spend, based on the density of the area,” he said.

        A few people on the side where the barriers will be built objected.

        Sue Veldkamp, who lives on the North side of the highway, said she does not want the sound barrier.

        “I would rather have the grass and trees they took out when they did soil samples to install the barriers,” Mrs. Veldkamp said.

        Jay Hamilton, ODOT's project manager, said ODOT will reach a decision in about four weeks.


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