Turnpike noise takes toll PDF Print E-mail
Written by ALEX ASPACHER Sentinel Staff Writer   
Friday, 10 January 2014 10:49
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Gary Franks of Perrysburg points out proposed locations sound barriers on a map. (Photo: Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)
Stretching more than 240 miles across the northern portion of the state, the Ohio Turnpike has a lot of neighbors.
Some of those in Wood County aren't happy with the relationship.
When Gary and Lori Franks moved to the Belmont Lake subdivision in Perrysburg Township in 1986, traffic noise in the area was minimal. The interchange between the turnpike and Interstate 75 was nearby, but they liked the wide-open space it provided for their children. The view of the lake in their backyard wasn't too bad, either.
But over the years, truck travel on the turnpike has escalated, and the noise along with it, Franks said. Their wide-open space seems to amplify the problem, and now that the state has announced plans to add lanes to I-75, he's worried the volume will be turned up even further.
"There's just more and more and more and more," Franks said of the highway noise. "We live roughly 1,500 feet from the turnpike itself, and lots of people live much closer.
"I just can't imagine how noisy it would be there."
While searching for a solution of his own, Franks came across a program administered by the Ohio Department of Transportation and the turnpike commission that provides up to $5 million per year to address noise and other impacts of the toll road.
Still, "it's kind of a drop in the bucket," said Franks, an engineer, who researched noise barriers and determined a sound barrier here could cost upwards of $5 million on its own. The turnpike mitigation program awards only up to $1 million per project.
Franks got others in the area on board, and they sent about 160 petitions to the Wood County Engineer's Office asking for help.
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Gary Franks (right) of Perrysburg talks on the processes and issues he and his wife Lori (left) have had while leading an effort to have sound barriers installed along the Ohio Turnpike.
Engineer Ray Huber said at Wednesday's township trustees meeting that he is not legally able to provide any funding. In response to a question from trustee Bob Mack, Huber said he could offer a letter of support for the project if it's sponsored by the township.
"I can do that, as long as it goes with the understanding that I cannot support it financially in any way, shape or form," Huber said.
"My office has absolutely nothing to do with noise abatement. I'm strictly roads, bridges and drainage here in Wood County," Huber said before turning the petitions back over to Franks, who provided them to township officials.
Township Administrator Walt Celley said the deadline for an application was tight, but doable. Trustees approved a purchase order for up to $1,000 for engineering support from Feller, Finch and Associates to prepare the application, due by the end of the month.
"We're all fully prepared to cooperate and collaborate and turn in an application," Celley said. "We may not get any funding, but we're certainly willing to, from the township's perspective, try to attain some funding."
Until then, Franks said he will continue to host occasional outdoor gatherings and enjoy use of their property in spite of the problems.
"You kind of get used to it, but it is annoying."
Last Updated on Friday, 10 January 2014 10:57
 

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