barriers to go up in spring
By Jeff Gallatin
Published July 25, 2007
addition to seeing flowers growing, city officials now anticipate
finally seeing the new sound barrier walls on I-480 going up next
Mayor Thomas O’Grady said the actual construction
of the walls should be done in the spring of 2008.
“That’s when we anticipate them going up,” O’Grady
said. “Right now, they’re doing the engineering of the walls for
the work. After that, the state officials anticipate letting the
contract for the work in November. Then they plan to do the foundation
work during the winter before actually putting them up in the spring.”
As city officials indicated in October 2006, when
they first said the project would be delayed because the state is
putting up new walls instead of renovating the old ones, money is
at the heart of the issue for the delay.
“When the state officials got the bids back, they
were just significantly higher than they had budgeted for the repairs,”
O’Grady said. “So instead of just doing a renovation, they decided
to put in completely new walls.”
David J. Coyle, deputy director of the Ohio Department
of Transportation, sent a letter to city officials saying the repair
bids were $1.2 million above what his department had estimated.
He said since the $2.5 million would in fact cover new walls, the
state decided to put in new sound barrier walls.
When state officials found this out last year, they
initially said the state would not be able to replace the walls
for two to three years. The project had been scheduled to start
Both Nicole Dailey Jones, the chairwoman of city council’s
Streets and Transportation committee, and O’Grady fired off letters
to state officials saying a two- to three-year delay was an unacceptable
Coyle, in turn, told city officials that work would
begin in July 2007, which is the first quarter of the 2008 fiscal
year, the first time funds for that time period will be available.
“By putting them up in the spring, they’ll still be
falling within that fiscal year,” O’Grady said.
O’Grady said the anticipated spring completion of
construction is better than some alternatives.
“It’s better off than waiting two or three years as
they originally wanted,” he said.
Jones, the council member who represents the area,
lobbied earlier for the repairs and has tried to keep the project
moving as quickly as possible.
“While I’m glad the project is moving forward and
that we now have a definite timeline from the state as to how the
project will progress, it goes without saying that it’s still a
source of frustration to the residents of that area that the work
has been delayed,” she said.
Jones indicated that she and the residents remain
concerned about the walls being down.
“We’re glad that new walls will be going up, but the
fact remains that the residents have had to deal with the old walls
being in poor condition and then the walls being down for some time,”
she said. “It’s a safety issue for the residents of that area, and
we will be very glad when the walls are back up.”
Jones said she will continue to monitor the situation.
“I’ll be staying in touch with the administration
and ODOT about the work,” she said.
City officials have set a public meeting about the
walls from 5 to 8 p.m. Aug. 15 in the Community Cabin in North Olmsted
Park. The meeting will have an open format and people may come and
go while checking the information available, Limpert said.