After six years of planning, a project is underway to give a little peace to residents of about sixty homes in some Austintown neighborhoods.

Work is underway to build a 4,385-foot long, 16-foot-high noise wall along the west side of Route 11 southbound from Mahoning Avenue to New Road.

The orange barrels are up along the ramp and highway as the Ohio Department of Transportation begins the $2.7 million project to shield South Inglewood Avenue, East Beacon, and Nashua Drives from the sounds of more than 15,000 cars and trucks that travel the stretch of road daily.

The project was approved in 2018 by neighbors who signed a petition asking for the wall designed to reduce noise by 5 decibels.

"I think it will make a tremendous difference," Austintown Zoning Inspector Darren Crivelli said, "I think in other areas in the state where sound walls go up, I think the residents are very happy with them. I think it will add value to those homes in the resale market."

ODOT determined a sound reduction wall was deemed reasonable and feasible after conducting the study, but said this type of project takes time to plan accordingly. 

Homeowners who live feet away from the busy route in Austintown say they've anticipated the change for years. 

"We've been wondering about it for many, many years and my mom especially, has coveted this idea, so she's really thrilled," Ray Novotny, whose mother lives on Englewood right next to the stretch, said, "I grew up with woods here which went away when I was 11, so I missed the woods and I'm used to the sound but overall I think it's a great idea for the neighborhood."

These homes came before Route 11 did, and that's why the sound reduction wall is warranted by ODOT, the agency that decides which areas qualify for the wall. 

Homes built before busy stretches or experiencing major road changes qualify and must also meet cost criteria with enough impacted homes.

Traffic is being maintained during construction, which is expected to be completed in the fall. 

Construction of a similar wall is getting underway this week on the ramp from Interstate 76 westbound to State Route 534 in Milton Township. 

The detour is I-76 westbound to State Route225 to I-76 eastbound to State Route 534.

There are also future plans for walls in other communities with plans still being worked out, according to ODOT District 4 Public Information Officer Ray Marsch. 

"One location is I-80 and Liberty township," Marsch said, "Another area is State Route five and 82 and Champion township
as well as State Route 82 in Howland township."

The costs for these projects are 100% paid for by ODOT. 

Marsch does not anticipate closures in Austintown.