Neighborhood fights for noise wall, ODOT says no

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (WDTN) – Residents from two subdivisions, Arrow Creek and Ashbrook reached out to 2 NEWS Investigates.

They say Interstate 70, that runs behind their neighborhoods, is getting increasingly loud and they want a noise barrier wall.

The problem is, they claim ODOT does not have standard rules in place for deciding where to put them.

“You have to go over to the neighbor to talk. When we entertain it’s quite a distraction for people,” said Jack Mecham.

Mecham and his neighbors asked ODOT for a wall after they found out a lane was being added to the Interstate.

“It’s getting louder as time goes on,” said Mecham.

ODOT decides who gets the walls.

A document 2 NEWS Investigates obtained shows ODOT told both the Arrow Creek and Ashbrook neighborhood they were not eligible, even though the neighbors say other communities along this construction project will get one.

“We think we should be deserving of a wall to cut that noise down,” he said.

2 NEWS investigates wanted to know, what’s so different about this neighborhood?

We found before any neighborhood gets a wall, three criteria have to be met:

  1. It has to be noisy
  2. The wall has to reduce that noise
  3. It has to reduce that noise to enough homes to make it cost-efficient for ODOT. In other words, it can’t be too expensive for the number of homes it’s benefiting.

2 NEWS Investigates took a decibel reader to the neighborhood to measure the noise levels ourselves.

According to the US Department of Transportation, to get a wall, readings need to be above 67 decibels.

Our readings settled around the high 70s, low 80s at the beginning of rush hour.

ODOT agrees it’s loud, so the neighborhood meets that requirement.

They also agree a wall would reduce the noise.

But they say it wouldn’t reduce noise to enough homes in that area, making in too expensive.

“We feel it’s not a level playing field,” said Mecham, “we don’t think we are getting a fair comparison they are doing things in other areas that they refuse to do for us.”

ODOT used noise readings they took from the sub divisions to make the decision. They use software that projects how many homes would benefit.

These neighbors say the noise readings were not taken as thoroughly as they should have been.

2 NEWS Investigates found both readings were taken mid-day and state documents say assessments are typically taken during “rush-hour”. That didn’t happen here.

ODOT didn’t directly respond to my questions about the time the readings were taken. They said they reviewed the noise levels twice in that area and longer term readings were not necessary.

ODOT believes the criteria they use works, but Mecham disagrees.

“People come over to the house to visit and they say “my gosh” the noise is terrible,” he said.

They also have concerns that other areas with walls were not evaluated the same.

The Troy Country Club has one outside their property but they don’t have as many homes behind it as these two neighborhoods.

ODOT told me the country club is considered a public recreational space which has different criteria. It was also put in years ago when rules were different.

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