Building Walls

Warning: Unpleasant photo of roadkill at the end of this post. Stop reading if you will find this offensive.

A rant that has nothing to do with reading or writing

We used to live under the flight path of Cleveland Hopkins Airport. Because we are an aviation-minded family, the sound of the airplanes never troubled us. In fact, we kind of liked it. Furthermore, tracks for both the city transit system and the railroad ran less than a mile from our home. Add in a fire station a block away, and anyone with half a brain would realize life on our street was accompanied by the soundtrack of a city neighborhood.

No shock there. We lived in a city neighborhood.

Thus, the Ohio Department of Transportation’s decision to erect sound barriers along a nearby highway came as some surprise, and not a pleasant one. Both my husband and I thought it was pretty stupid, a boondoggle at the very least. Attempting to block out the sound of a highway that ran under a flight path seemed kind of silly.

Plus the walls block the sights along the road, making driving an exercise in boredom.

When I travel, I prefer to see the surrounding countryside.


Valley View Restaurant (1)

Not all roadside scenery is as idyllic as the above photo, but I’d gladly take even a cityscape of steel mills and car factories over blank gray or reddish walls.


Wilderness at bay

Wilderness at bay (Photo credit: Ben Lawson)

It seems to me unreasonable to try to cut ourselves off from the unpleasant results  — be it noise, pollution or simply the ugly sight of a steel plant — of the lifestyle so many of us (myself included) take for granted.

Then there’s the cost. As of 2009, those walls cost $25 a foot. (Figure from blog: Multiply that by the number of feet in a mile times the amount of miles where the barriers have been erected. The result is a lot of money.  Money from our taxes that, in my opinion, could be better used to repair the roads and/or aged bridges that have begun to look scarily, possibly dangerously, decrepit.

What about those who live near major highways and have to deal with the car noise? Well, call me heartless, but I just can’t generate a whole lot of sympathy for people who move near an interstate and then complain about the noise. It would be like us moving five miles from the airport and then bitching about the planes.

I’d feel more sympathy for someone who settled in a neighborhood only to have an interstate re-routed through their backyard. But there have been very few highways built in northeast Ohio in the last few years (none that I’m aware of).

Oh, and those barriers that were erected a few years before we moved out of Cleveland? They’re falling down, going from dull blandness to eyesore in less than ten years. That’s right, folks, the 181 miles of sound barriers erected throughout Ohio at a cost of $330 million are now crumbling, requiring repair. (

In my family, we had an expression for such expenditures. We called it throwing good money after bad. Why not admit the whole idea was a misbegotten idea, dismantle the things, and be done with it?

If you’re wondering why I’m whining about this now, I’ll tell you. It’s because today as I drove down the highway with the stupid falling down walls, I saw two young deer, heads bobbing above the tall grass along the side of the road as they searched for the way back to the gap in the wall and into the woods from which they’d come.

But hey, no worries, right? I’ll probably see them again, lying along the highway after they finally panic and try to cross.


Roadkill cerf

Roadkill cerf (Photo credit: Wikipedia)







About kymlucas

"Taking care not to take love too seriously." Writer of smart, fresh, contemporary romance and women's fiction. Blogging about writing, reading, and more recently, dealing with the ins and outs of breast cancer.
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2 Responses to Building Walls

  1. I support your rant. I grew up in Ohio and moved to PA in 2006. I was shocked by the state of the PA highways and commented on it to my husband. He said it was because the senator from Ohio was a high ranking member of the Highway Commission, so Ohio got tons of money for roads whereas PA didn’t. It’s a shame to see more sound barriers going up when other places have roads collapsing.
    It’s a messed up system.
    I really miss Ohio’s excellent roads though! (Although, NOT the ugly sound barriers.)


    • kymlucas says:

      Don’t feel too bad about missing our roads, Sheri. They’re going downhills since they spend all the money on the walls!

      Kym Lucas Co-Vice President, Northeast Ohio Romance Writers of America Check out my blogs at, I’m also on Twitter @KymLucas1, @KeepingABreast2

      “There’s no problem a library card can’t solve.” — Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown



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