Trustees question removal of trees along Route 11 in Austintown - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Trustees question removal of trees along Route 11 in Austintown

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AUSTINTOWN TWP., Ohio -

A mass removal of trees along State Route 11 in Austintown is impacting the quality of life for some homeowners who once had a sound and visual buffer from the busy highway.

The project by the Ohio Department of Transporation is being questioned by township leaders who hope an upcoming meeting with ODOT will bring a solution.

ODOT has been mowing down trees and brush along Route 11 to correct drainage problems caused by clogged ditches and culverts. But the result has eliminated a sight and sound barrier in the back yard of Angel Rodrigo on Penny Lane Court. He's also concerned about safety.

"If a vehicle came off the road, it could have hit all those trees before it ever got this far up to the fence," said Rodrigo.

Austintown Trustee Ken Carano says the township has not received any complaints about drainage in the area.

"They talk about drainage, but they cut the high point at the fence line and all the foliage there," Carano said.

A spokesman for ODOT was asked why they couldn't just clean the ditches and clear the culverts but leave the trees.

"We're going to be re-ditching that area, so obviously we have to clear a pretty wide stretch so we can appropriately ditch the area and try and collect as much of that water as we can," spokesman Justin Chesnic said.

With no sound buffer left, a sound meter measured between 77 and 88 decibels in Rodrigo's yard. The equivalent to a garbage disposal, food blender or lawnmower. 

So the trees are gone, but apparently, there's not much hope of getting a sound barrier wall. The township zoning inspector says under ODOT  rules the area doesn't qualify for a noise barrier.

"None of those qualify because they all came in after Route 11 was already there," said inspector Darren Crivelli. 

Crivelli says Engelwood Avenue on the west side of the highway will be getting a sound wall because those homes were there before Route 11. That barrier is scheduled for completion in 2023.

Rodrigo says he's considered erecting his own wall in the form of a 150 long tarp. Carano is hopeful about the ODOT meeting later this week.

"We have to talk to them about what they could do possibly to help us take care of the people there." 
 

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