Local Politics

Bill would study noise walls along busy roadways

Posted May 28, 2008

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— A bill that the state House of Representatives is considering would direct the state Department of Transportation to study its policy for when to place sound walls along highways to reduce the impact of noise on neighborhoods.

House Bill 2730, sponsored by Rep. Ty Harrell, D-Wake, would require the DOT to tell lawmakers what it found, including what it would cost for any policy changes, by Oct. 1.

About 50 residents along the new N.C. Highway 540 have registered complaints with the state that the noise has increased significantly since the road opened last year. There is no barrier between it and the Harrington Pointe neighborhood near Leesville Road.

Lawmakers say there are similar problems across the state.

"It has residents in a bad situation," Harrell said. "When you have an existing neighborhood, and all of a sudden a road comes through and then it takes years, if at all, for some type of sound barrier to be put up – it doesn't have to be a brick wall, just something to dampen the noise."


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  • SheriffTruman May 29, 2008

    Haggis Basher, the walls in Raleighe were kind of an anomoly due to a several conditions.

    First, due to the rolling hills of that area causing the wall to have lots of steps to follow the contour, it gave brick an advantage over concrete due to the typical steps in a precast concrete wall being too tall, which would have required more custom work and more material to cover the same area. Brick is custom already and easily adjustable in one course increments.

    Also, the bricks in the wall are made out of material that was dug out of gas stations and other places where fuel spill remediation was done. The soil must be disposed of or cleaned and reused. One way of cleaning it is to run it thorugh a kiln, pretty much exactly what is done to brick. So, they had cheap raw materials (or maybe they even got paid to use it, I am not sure) which helped keep costs down.

    Also, they used brick that is much larger than what is used in a house, so labor was minimized.

  • short May 29, 2008

    Hmmm....I live near the airport...can I have a wall built above my house?......You moved into your house - but never checked to see what would be built on the 50-60-70 acres of woods behind your home? These projects are public record and sit there for years for all to see....the 540 in question has been there since before 1990.......so please.......

  • amlebede May 29, 2008

    The DC Area doesn't have that much noise problem around I-95. Why not just do what they are doing?

    But if you do not want noise, don't purchase real estate next to a highway. If the highway was built after you moved in, I think you have a constitutional right to compensation.

  • haggis basher May 29, 2008

    Talking about these walls, how come Raleigh got nice brick ones around the belt line and Cary got ugly Concrete ones on the improved Highway 1/64. I assume the money came different sources but those are real UGLY and I would have thought Cary could have arranged for better.

  • john60 May 29, 2008

    The DOT follows the FHWA rules concerning noise walls; houses located along the project before the public hearing will get studied for a noise wall, but those built after the hearing will not. If the noise wall is needed, then Federal money can be used to build it. That's because it's assumed that homeowners moving in AFTER the hearing are aware of the road being built, and choose to move there anyway.

    Now, the state --could-- build a noise wall for homeowners using only state funds, but they are expensive and that money is in short supply. Cities can also pay for the walls if they want them that bad.

  • freespeech May 29, 2008

    Yep, good ol' legislators are looking after us again this session.

  • ObamaMustGo aka NCcarguy May 29, 2008

    well people of this state, you are ABOUT to get screwed out of hundreds of thousands of your tax dollars that could go to other roadway projects, because 50 wealthy people have complained to a lawmaker.....take note on all those involved!

  • SheriffTruman May 29, 2008

    Plain and simple, teh current DOT rules for walls will put them in if the road was planned after the houses were there. THe neighborhood in question was planned and built well after 540 was know. I am sure it is not the best situation, but comes down to the homeowners doing due dilligence.

    As far as DOT not replacing a fence. That is the deal. They give you money for your land and any improvements such as landscaping that are removed and it is up to you to use the money to replace the imnporvements.

  • LuvLivingInCary May 29, 2008

    ms b, with all due respect but when you have an interstate the size of 540, 20 feet off the back of your lot really does not change the noise levels.

  • ms b May 29, 2008

    Except sometimes those plans change significantly. We were aware of a proposed road expansion when we bought our house. A small corner off the back of our lot would have been part of a buffer zone. Instead, they changed the plans and now have taken 1/4 of my lot across the back and may end up taking (we have been compensated) the entire house. In addition DOT will take down the existing fence and not replace it.