Division of Legislative Services > Legislative Record > 2006

HJR 551: Joint Subcommittee to Study Highway Noise Abatement

June 6, 2006

Delegates Jeffrey Frederick (chair), Mayme BaCote, Daniel Marshall, and Thomas Gear met on June 6, 2006, to continue the two-year study on highway noise abatement issues.

HJR 551 Summary

The subcommittee was formed in response to HJR 551 (2005) to study how highway noise can be reduced by way of highway planning, construction, and other possible means and identify the best methods, costs, and application situations.

Study Objectives

  • Identify materials, technologies, techniques, actions, and strategies regarding highway planning and construction and identify those that reduce highway noise at the lowest cost.
  • Determine the best application and situation for proposed highway noise abatement solutions.

Guest Speaker
Amy Costello, VDOT Air, Noise, & Energy Section

Ms. Costello explained that the state is required to establish a noise abatement policy inline with federal guidelines. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) conducts noise studies on most federally aided highway projects. VDOT utilizes earthen berms, which reduce noise and are cost-effective, but pointed out that sometimes the acquiring of the necessary right-of-ways added substantially to the costs.

VDOT has discontinued the use of wooden barriers for noise abatement, because they were not durable over time. Ms. Costello stated that VDOT typically uses concrete barriers for noise abatement, because of relatively low maintenance costs, as well as it is thought that they have a smaller "foot print," or are less invasive than earthen berms. Ms. Costello used graphs to discuss VDOT's noise abatement costs, which in most instances were lower than the national average. The members were interested in how VDOT evaluates potential new materials and technologies that might prove both useful and cost-effective in achieving noise reduction and there was brief discussion.

Next Meeting & Work Plan

Members wish to hear from local governments regarding their highway noise abatement issues, ideas, and concerns at a meeting possibly in Newport News at a date to be announced.

The Hon. Jeffrey M. Frederick

For information, contact:
Alan Wambold and Stephanie Bishop, DLS Staff

Division of Legislative Services > Legislative Record > 2006

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