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How to argue for only 2 residences on highway. They were there when road had no shoulder. Just country road. Now project lane to be 6 lane
I live in MN. They added a third lane to the western portion of the interstate that rings the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area. They added sound barriers everywhere, except my side of the freeway adjacent to my neighborhood. What happened is now that there’s a barrier on the far side of the freeway, the noise bounces off and comes back significantly louder on my side. We can’t even hear our TV during rush hour! Sometimes, when the wind is just right (out of the southwest), we have to close our south-facing bedroom window (in the summer) because it sounds like the traffic is driving right through our bedroom! Even with the windows closed, like they are 9 months out of the year, the freeway noise inside my house is very noticeable. I live for those very rare days when the wind is out of the east or northeast. We do have trees planted on the west side of our house (and no windows at all on that entire side), but again, about 9 months out of the year there are no leaves on them. The reason we were given for there being no abatement in the small section of our side of the freeway was absolutely cost-driven: “There aren’t enough houses in this section to justify it.” Well, guess what? Now there are, as developers have been adding houses like crazy. However, they won’t build a sound barrier here for at least 40 years because that will be the next time they do any major work on the freeway again. It’s always a case of “kick the can down the road”, and we’ll be dead by that time as we’re in our mid-50s. Our only solution at this point is simply to sell our house and move.
Who do I contact to have the noise levels checked in my backyard? They have expanded the highway that runs behind my house a few miles down, but not the part that is in my back yard so we didn’t get the walls. We love to have someone check this out.
I do not want a wall in my backyard. Now I am surrounded by a high grey wall as though I am a prisoner in jail. PLANT TREES, BUSHES. BAMBOO. Vegatation cleans the air, absorbs noise, beautifies the roadwsy, helps break up strong winds, attracts birds. Bees, butterflies, provides privacy and security to those residents whose backyards abut the highway.
Sounds like a win-win solution to me
Same problem as others have stated, I regret buying a home along a highway, techically a new york parkway. great article but you did not mention dirt berms as a barrier, also what about speed. the 55 mph speed limit is a joke here in new york. Also as someone stated, screaming motorcycles and racing cars that think it is their private drag strip.
I bought a manufactured home a BEAUTIFUL 2006 one built high above the ground. The home is surrounded by very loud road noises, Florida Turnpike, Boca Reo Road and Glades Road all very loud roads with a lot of traffic.
I have lived here for over two years and can’t even sit on my patio because of the loud noise When I first looked at the home it must have been on a quite road day hardly any noise but, after I bought the home and moved in I noticed the loud noise every day and even during the night when I was supposed to be sleeping the sound was terrible, I tried to tune the road sounds out but, it was very hard.
The main reason why I am posting this is because for the past two weeks I have started to hear loud noises in my right ear. At first I was very scared and nervous but, now I try to cope with it. Like now typing this post I am hearing a roaring in my ear. It usually last for a while — maybe an hour — then it gets lower to a hiss and that gives me some relief. I have experienced this 3 times in two weeks so far. Hoping that it wouldn’t come back again when it leaves. It gives me a very stuffy feeling in my head and ears but I can cope with that. But not that loud roaring noise that I didn’t have when I moved here. My ears were perfect. I believe the loud road noises did this to my ears and caused me to get tinnitus.
Just wanted to post this so readers would know. Maybe if you are thinking of buying a home around a lot of road noises think twice before you buy it.
Thank you for reading my post and please pray for me that my tinnitus gets better. Thank you all and have a blessed day, Laurie.
Stop building interstates and highways through neighborhoods. Kinda seems obvious to me.
Here’s a question: If, as seems according to the illustration of a sound wall and noise at the top of this article, sound travels in waves and like water will flow over or around a barrier, would it make a barrier wall more effective if the top of the wall curved over toward the highway – like a wave beginning to crest? Would that redirect flowing sound back onto the road, thereby reducing even more, the amount of sound that makes it over the top? Just a thought.
I would think a curved (towards traffic) topper could be a helpful design feature. We have a proposed large high density /high intensity of uses commercial/residential project at 56-ft high building next to many 9-12 foot tall manufactured homes, with a new 2-lane roadway to serve the project to be 3-ft from our homes that line the perimeter’s 2 shared fencelines. It was the building’s stories on the 2nd through 5 levels swinging out at an angle towards the fenceline that gave rise to concern about amplifying noise, that 1/2 pipe effect. Its similar to the curved simple attachment that can be bought (vs. a sound bar) to redirect sound from down or back facing speakers in new TV’s to redirect sound back towards the front where the screen is (a speaker design change that of course serves the need to buy a sound bar). We are pursuing with the developer a sound wall idea (its not fullproof) along with noise-absorbing materials on the 15-ft tall ground floor of the building and roadway materials to help absorb sound from all uses. We’ll see how far we get with those ideas (developers want maximum profits, even with the added density bonuses giving up to 35% more market rate units = higher profits, regardless of local laws).
Hello Mr. Huber – Your idea about the bamboo wall is very interesting and certainly cost effective when compared to construction type solutions. I work in hoa management and I know that it can be frustrating when trying to get a board to agree to a beneficial solution for their property but they just don’t have the vision. I offer the following suggestions that might be persuasive: 1) plant a smaller area as a test site that residents can visit and experience the noise reduction and see how the actual plants will look, move, smell – the full sensory experience; 2) an artist rendering of what the final product will look like when fully grown; 3) the focus is on noise reduction but don’t forget to include how attractive the new view will be of a bamboo forest at the end of the lake – certainly more attractive than a highway; 4) community security will be enhanced as no one is going to penetrate that forest to commit petty crimes or vandalism and then get quickly away on the highway; 5) highway trash and whatever else the wind blows off the road — sand, soot, exhaust, anything that falls off the back of an overloaded truck, etc will not wind up in the lake or along that berm that is the community’s property; 6) is there a state or federal tax deduction or grant money to be had for putting that strip of land to good use? I am sure that right now, when that land is not used at all (because it is along the highway) the community is still paying taxes on it and possibly having the cost of maintenance i.e. mowing at the very least; how long would it take for the cost of the taxes to outweigh the cost of the bamboo wall? 7) scientific studies are useful but local experience is often more persuasive; look for communities around you who have used bamboo for various purposes such as noise reduction, privacy, security, graffiti prevention, etc and get their testimonies, print them up, mail them out, invite them to speak at a meeting; if any local colleges (including community colleges) have Environmental Science, Engineering, Construction Management or other related degrees, make your offer of a study site as in your letter above, directly to those dept chairs. It is a unique and useful opportunity and could be a draw for the college as well for new students interested in those programs of study; 8) and finally, give it time – resolution in hoas doesn’t grow as fast as bamboo – often the same topic has to be presented multiple times with possible new info added each time; boards change, circumstances change, and then one day an idea formerly rejected sounds like a good and reasonable — and cost effective — solution. Soldier on! It all begins with one true believer – and that is you!
The answer to provide sound absorbtion to already existing and new concrete walls is….. Wait, let me go buy stock in this product first…..ok.. spray urethane foam..2″ layer on traffic side of wall. Cheap and will do the job.
Thanks for sharing. Barrier Walls are by far the most effective airport noise barriers and noise abatement solution available.
Im the past president of the noise abatement committee for a community in Punta Gorda Florida. Our neighborhood was a quiet community abutting I-75 until 2 years ago. 2 years ago the highway Lane widths were increased by two lanes.Fdot.and their wisdom decided to erect a sound barrier 22 ft tall on the opposite side of the highway. Sadly the community across the highway which received the sound barrier is also experiencing elevated noise further into the community due to environmental factors which primarily are wind and humidity
Today our community is experiencing an unreasonable increase in sound levels due to noise barrier reflection into our community . Atmospheric conditions ;wind ; humidity and the existence of a lake which goes right down to the highway acts as a vector for the noise to travel up through the neighborhood. Our community and committee have been in contact with Fdot for numerous years. We have spoken to them using EPA policy and fdot Policy to try to find a resolution to this problem. Unfortunately we do not fall within the reasonableness category due to the lack of housing at the highway. However we do present one very unique situation which many neighborhoods would like to be in. Our H O A owns a strip of land 40 ft deep directly behind where a sound barrier would have been erected to protect our community. This 40-foot strip is one mile long. Our committee has also come to the conclusion and understanding that erecting a concrete sound barrier on our side of the highway would only reflect more noise up into the air ;broadcast by environmental factors wind and humidity and would be detrimental for both communities on the highway. We have proposed to plant a bamboo curtain out of bamboo Seabreeze which is extremely dense ;40 ft Deep by 1 mile long. This bamboo grows so thick that after 5 years you cannot put your arm into the Hedge more than 12 in. This specie will grow to a height of 30 ft This bamboo species has multiple inclusions ;extremely dense ;a great amount of twig material and constant Leaf material on the species. We believe that this would definitely decrease the decibel rating on our side of the bamboo curtain. We also believe because the bamboo hedge is regular at the top that the sound wave penetration over the barrier would be slightly disrupted to the benefit of the neighborhood. We also believe that planting the bamboo curtain would benefit our neighbors across the highway and stop reflection of Highway noise into their community
A detailed budget was presented to the ho a board and the final numbers for 1 mile of bamboo curtain was approximately $300,000. Sadly the proposal was voted down 6-0. I understand the reason for this was there are very few scientific studies that would support our beliefs. I am writing this article in Hope that a university or a sdot Research facility would be interested in running a 1-mile by 40 ft wide bamboo curtain test on our site. This would be a truly unique situation in which one side of the highway would have a 22 foot concrete barrier and the other side would have a 30 foot bamboo curtain. I agree with Robert Bernhardt that the solution which we have seen in the United States and other countries that use reflective sound barriers is not the answer to the community as a whole. Please make comments to this article and I believe in climates that support these very dense bamboo Hedges that there is a solution on the horizon for all.
Problem with the Dutch site is that it sends the sound waves UP. That is not absorbing the sound as it preferred and makes the problem worse for anyone just above the wall.
I look forward to electric trucks. Truck engines are a major source of noise. But trucks are necessary to those of us who buy any product other than fruit and vegetables at a farmer’s stand. I saw no mention of another, unnecessary, malicious / narcissistic source of noise: Motorcycles with altered exhausts and automobiles with loud exhausts. Millions are spent on walls and other infrastructure solutions. What we need is for the police to enforce the noise laws, and for our lawmakers to enact common-sense laws. If you can hear a car or motorcycle a half-mile away, it is TOO LOUD. Thank you.
Very well written article on an interesting topic. I’m commenting here to let everyone know there IS a solution to the noise problems outlined in this article. Sound Fighter Systems, a company based out of Shreveport, LA, right here in the USA, is a manufacturer of sound absorptive sound walls and has been in existence since 1972! We do hundreds of sound walls and noise barriers each year throughout the United States. One of our many applications includes work within the transportation sector (Highway/DOT and Rail) noise mitigation. We are an ABSORPTIVE barrier, unlike concrete which is REFLECTIVE. This is an all too often overlooked aspect when it comes time to build these sound walls. I would kindly ask anyone interested in this particular topic to take a look at our website. We take great pride in finding solutions (just like this one) to noise problems that affect people every day.
In regards to everyone’s comments, David Wright has a spot-on explanation as to the reality of the issue with finding a “solution” for these noise problems. The technology exists to achieve a greater noise attenuation in these barriers, (our sound walls are 1.05 NRC and 35 STC). We simply need to implement a new set of standards and expectations that are put in place for these projects. There are certain states that have moved entirely away from reflective sound walls and have replaced ONLY with absorptive. We need to follow their footsteps and change the standard.
Thanks for your interest.
-Toby J. Kuznia
Sound Fighter Systems
This is a Federal job justification program, not a noise solution. As a professional noise engineer working nationally, we reviewed easy upgrades with the State Dept. of Transportation. We were surprised to find that only a single 1/2 page in the 3 inch thick wall specifications manual for bidding and construction address two of the weakest and most misapplied noise metrics in the businessas the fundamental for design – STC 20 and NRC 0.70. When given a formal proposal (patent pending), the two young men responsible for the whole State simply said… “No, just STC 20 and NRC0.70 please.. we wont think of anything else”. A Federal budget sink of gigantic proportion in my opinion, based on experience.
I tend to agree. I work for a state transportation agency (won’t say which one), and while my job has nothing to do with noise barriers, I’ve done voice over work. I’ve often thought that we just aren’t designing the walls correctly. There simply must be better materials – and better “shapes” inside the wall – to more effectively absorb the noise. When you consider the design of the ultra quiet rooms that are out there, it’s obvious that we could do better absorbing highway noise. I still hold out some hope that some research arm of some transportation agency or some university somewhere will pick up this ball and run with it.
We’re facing the sound wall issues here in Maryland with the beltway expansion. You mention the STC and NRC standards, is there anything publicly available that discusses pros / cons of using these, what else to look for? Our state has 6 pre approved sound wall vendors, I know the NRC requirement is 0.8, but we (homeowner’s association) and trying to find out more info. Any help appreciated. Thanks.
I’m sure most people realize that noise is still a problem behind the walls. It’s the privacy and security that people behind the wall want.
If a better way to reduce the sound is available, people will still want the walls between them and the highway. They will just want both.
Plants would work better. Especially large shrubs and trees. See Sr. Project at Cal Poly, SLO. It was mine.
Marijuana plants would do great
Plant ivy at the base of the wall. In a few growing seasons it will be beautiful, resist graffiti, and reduce noise.
4Silence is a solution we developed and being used here in The Netherlands. It benefits people who are living nearby a highway.
I have seen experiments in several parts of the US.
Some walls have individually offset panels, some are wood, some have plants in front of them, some have grooves in them.
I think the problem is complicated near cities because the traffic speed varies considerably. Congestion at different times of day and slowing traffic with adverse weather will affect any resonant frequency.
Any effort to provide vegetation buffers will eventually be reduced when someone wants to widen the road.
I hope the experiments continue and people continue to share the information gathered.
Thanks for your comment.
Is there an English language version of the website link you included in your comment?
In the top right-hand corner of the Dutch site you can see NL and EN – click on EN for an English version.