The city of Bexley is in the process of gathering signatures to petition the Ohio Department of Transportation to install sound barriers that would block noise from Interstate 70.
Bexley City Council is considering a resolution requesting that ODOT install the sound barriers around Bexley and its vicinity.
"A number of residences in Bexley are impacted by the noise from the Interstate 70 corridor and will continue to be negatively impacted on this highly traveled segment of Interstate 70 for the foreseeable future unless measures are taken," the resolution states. "ODOT has successfully erected sound barriers along the borders of many similar communities that are adjacent to such busy freeways."
Councilman Troy Markham, chairman of council's Service and Environmental Committee, said he introduced the resolution at the request of Councilman Tim Madison. Madison said a Bexley resident brought the issue to his attention about six months ago.
Madison said he is personally aware of the noise issue.
"I sit outside every night and hear the motorcycles and things on the freeway," Madison said during council's first reading of the resolution Oct. 23.
According to ODOT's website, www.dot.state.oh.us, the agency constructs sound barriers when new highways are built or when residential areas that were in existence prior to the construction of an adjacent roadway are impacted by noise.
Communities must petition ODOT for the construction of a sound barrier, after which the agency will conduct a study to assess the impact of highway noise and whether a barrier is necessary, the website states.
"In our instance, almost everything was there before the freeway was put up, so I think we're a prime candidate for (sound barriers)," Mayor Ben Kessler said.
While ODOT doesn't specify the number of signatures required for a sound barrier petition, Kessler suggested the city contact civic associations in neighboring communities, such as Driving Park and Hanford Village, and ask them to join Bexley in petitioning ODOT.
"If we petition only for Bexley, I think we have the risk of further driving a nuisance toward those neighborhoods and we also kind of highlight the whole problem, in the first place, of the freeway and the way that it divided neighborhoods," Kessler said.
ODOT covers the cost of installing the sound barriers, depending on the results of the agency's sound study, said Bill Dorman, Bexley's service director.
"The language clearly states that it has to be shown that ODOT caused the issue by putting (the highway) in after development," Dorman said.
Councilwoman Mary Gottesman said Bexley should ensure that sound barriers will not have the effect of driving noise to neighboring communities.
"We don't want to make life worse for those who don't live in Bexley," Gottesman said.
"Yes, we should be cognizant of our neighbors and we should do what we can, but we also want to do what's best for our residents," Madison said.
For more information about the sound barriers petition, visit Bexley's website, www.bexley.org.