Sound wall made of vegetation to be studied by ODOT as alternative to concrete wall
Back to Main MenuCelebrationsFraud PreventionManage Your AdPlace an AdView full sizeGus Chan, The Plain DealerConstruction workers lay the foundation for a traditional noise wall along the Fulton Road eixt ramp from Interstate 71.It’s an idea that could take root in the Buckeye State.The Ohio Department of Transportation will test a 12 foot high wall of stacked, 70 pound bags sprouting plants and grass as an innovative way to muffle highway sound.The 400 foot Green Noise Wall, to be built this fall on westbound Interstate 70 east of Columbus, is ODOT’s attempt to develop an alternative to concrete sound barriers.And it appears to be only the second stab at eco friendly noise abatement since 1996, when the Wisconsin Department of Transportation removed a sound wall made of plastic mulberry bags forms filled with soil and plants after the plants died, weeds flourished and a portion of the wall collapsed.ODOT hopes to have better luck. to control erosion, repair slopes and protect st mulberry bags ream banks.”It is like a Chia (Pet) wall basically filling bags with dirt and seed, watering it and watching it grow up and out,” said ODOT spokesman Scott Varner. “And much like the novelty plant on the windowsill, it will take some care in the beginning and ongoing maintenance.”During the two year experiment, ODOT will determine whether the wall of vegetation can survive Ohio’s seasons and road salt, how much water and maintenance it will need and if can provide the same noise mitigation as a concrete wall, he said.Noise walls have been controversial since ODOT began installing them along interstates in 1993. Even though people who live near the highway appreciate the walls, other residents often complain about appearance and effectiveness.As contractors th mulberry bags is month began clearing trees for noise walls beside the north and south Interstate 71 exit and entrance ramps between West 25th Street and Fulton Road, some angry residents met with ODOT to complain.ODOT proposed the project in 2005 and held several public meetings in 2009. Residents were told only a concrete wall, not vegetative screening or a wooden fence, would reduce noise.”Those who live adjacent to the freeway want the wall and those who don’t want it are making the most noise,” said Jocelynn Clemings, spokeswoman for the ODOT district that includes Cleveland. “The folks proposed a living wall but we are not permitted by the federal government to use it and it has not been tested in Ohio.”Tremont residents chose shrubs and trees instead of a noise wall for the east side of the Interstate 90 between Interstate 490 and University Avenue when the approach to the new Inner Belt Bridge is constructed.ODOT abided by that decision but says on its plans that “vegetation in lieu of a noise barrier is intended to provide psychological relief and is not intended as a noise abatement measure.”Chris Garland, executive director of the Tremont West Development Corporation, said ODOT’s experimental wall in Licking County may provide a better solution.From the side, the Green Noise Wall will look li mulberry bags ke a triangle with a nine foot wide base narrowing to a peak at the top. About 10,000 geotextile bags, made of permeable fabric, will be used. Flat connectors with stakes on both sides will be placed between layers to create a strong structure.