THERE BETTER SOLUTIONS
TO ABATE NOISE THAN A WALL
Noise on I-80 is a genuine concern. Most of the noise comes from tires interacting with the asphalt surface. The noise is influenced by the properties of the road surface.
An effective way to reduce road noise is to choose an appropriate asphalt-based mix that incorporates both durability and noise dampening characteristics. A dense-graded asphalt mix results in a quieter surface as well as an increase in flexibility allowing for air to escape at lower pressure. THIS TYPE OF MIXTURE CAN REDUCE ROAD NOISE BY AS MUCH AS 8 db. This is a much greater reduction of noise than a noise wall, even according to UDOT’s own noise study.
The asphalt industry continues to research and develop pavements that are quiet for drivers, neighborhoods and businesses adjacent to busy roads. These surfaces are currently being used in Arizona and other states as well as countries in Europe and Australia.
Our technology in road surfaces, electric vehicles, self-driving cars, etc. will have a much greater effect on road noise than a wall. But the wall will continue long after road surfacing has elevated beyond today’s scope.
WHEN A SOUND BARRIER IS NOT THE ANSWER
Sound barriers do have limitations and are not always an effective noise abatement method. To determine if the construction of a sound barrier will provide a reasonable noise level reduction, both the distance of the impacted community from the roadway and the topography of the area are considered.
Role of Distance
Typically, the primary impacted residences (which we also refer to as first row residences) are within 100 to 200 feet of the roadway. Second row residences, which are also quite often impacted, are usually a next-door neighbor or located across the street from a first row residence. As noise impacts and potential noise abatement methods are evaluated past second row residences, it becomes increasingly difficult to provide effective abatement. The construction of a sound barrier is not likely to reduce noise levels for residents who live far away from the roadway.
Role of Topography
To work effectively, the barrier must be high enough and long enough to block the view of the road from the area that is to be protected. Sound barriers do very little for homes on a hillside overlooking a road.
In addition, buildings higher than barriers, homes scattered too far apart, and openings in noise barriers for driveway connections or intersecting streets are not good areas for sound barriers. In some cases, SHA can offer alternatives to help reduce noise levels. These alternatives are evaluated on a case-by-case basis consistent with Federal guidelines.
A NOISE WALL IN SUMMIT COUNTY IS CONTRARY TO THE COUNTY’S OPEN SPACES AND VIEW POLICY
A sound wall this high in Summit County is totally out of touch with the open spaces and view corridors in this mountain community. Hundreds of thousands of tourists visit Summit County each year and this monstrosity will be the first impression they get when coming to ski or for summer activities. No wall has been built this high anywhere in Utah. The Berlin wall was only 11-12 feet high. Sound walls may be for urban areas but not open communities such as Park City. This will be a permanent blight on our open spaces.