Sound wall to offer noise relief to Wyoga Lake residents

Krista S. Kano
Akron Beacon Journal
A sound wall is being constructed along Rt. 8 Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021 in Stow, Ohio.
A sound wall is being constructed along Rt. 8 Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021 in Stow, Ohio.  [Karen Schiely/Beacon Journal]
A sound wall is being constructed along Rt. 8 Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021 in Stow, Ohio.

Wyoga Lake Estates in Stow is about to get a lot quieter.

Six years after an Ohio Department of Transportation highway traffic noise analysis indicated that a sound wall along the west side of Route 8's southbound lanes was "feasible and reasonable," a barrier is finally going up, and is set to be completed this summer.

MORE: Residents bordering Route 8 could get sound wall

"This is a huge deal for [Wyoga Lake residents]. They are very excited about it," said Ward 4 councilman Mario Fiocca, who represents the neighborhood. "In terms of traffic, Route 8 has grown leaps and bounds since Route 8 was extended all the way into Macedonia about 10 years ago, so the traffic is more and the noise is definitely more noticeable. I think it'll be a huge benefit to the ward and specifically to the residents of Wyoga." 

The 3,600-foot wall will extend from just north of Treeside Drive to just south of Hampshire Road and will result in an average noise reduction of 7.8 decibels with the maximum of a 10.4 decibel reduction, ODOT District 4 spokesperson Ray Marsh said. 

The Ohio Department of Transportation is building a sound wall along the west side of southbound Route 8. The 3,600 wall will run from just north of Treeside Drive to just south of Hampshire Road.

Tree trimming and clearing in the area as part of the sound wall project.

The sound wall is part of the $58 million state Route 8 project that will be completed in the summer of 2022. Marsh could not provide the cost of the sound wall itself. 

"We’re glad they’re getting started," Stow city engineer Jim McCleary said. "The Route 8 project has been in the works for a long time and they’re starting their third year. We’re counting on getting the project finished and we’re looking forward to it."

Rick Pastoria, who lives on Pineridge Drive running parallel to Route 8, said that he's become used to the normal traffic hum, but that loud stereos, engine braking and car crashes are particularly jarring. 

"When people stay in a hotel next to the interstate they can sleep through the noise. We do it here. Except for the loud stereos, you kind of get used to it," he said. 

Pastoria added that he hopes the wall will neutralize the noise, and not just redirect it elsewhere. 

Neighbor Ben Ruhlin, who lives on Treeside Drive, agreed that most traffic has become white noise, but that the sound wall will "protect our investment up here."

Ruhlin has built and sold five houses near Route 8, and built his current home. He does not believe that the noise has affected resale values, but did note that few houses have gone on the market as most people have stayed in their original homes. 

"I do think we would be disingenuous to say we're not going to hear the noise anymore," Ruhlin said. "It'll be dampened, but the more important thing for us is we're at site level. We're excited to just not see the traffic anymore."

Ruhlin credited the wall's construction to former Ward 4 Councilman Bob Adaska, who died Nov. 9, 2020. Adaska once walked the neighborhood and got 110 residents to sign a petition, a necessary step in getting the sound wall built. 

"He was instrumental in getting the wall for our community and he didn't get to see it come to fruition," Ruhlin said. "He fought really hard and long for us."

Reporter Krista S. Kano can be reached at 330-541-9416, kkano@thebeaconjournal.com or on Twitter @KristaKanoABJ.