InTrans / Aug 14, 2018

Design of wood highway sound barriers

As new and existing U.S. residential areas and high volume highways continue to intermingle, traffic noise abatement procedures continue to be important. This study investigated the acoustic effectiveness, public acceptance, and structural requirements of various designs and types of sound barriers. In addition, the acoustic effectiveness of a prototype sound barrier is reported. Results are presented on the acoustic effectiveness from in situ measurements of one cementbonded composite panel barrier and four precast concrete, two plywood, two glued-laminated, and three post and panel barriers. The research on public acceptance of sound barriers focused on the perception of visual compatibility. Based on results from semantic-differential and individual ratings, wood and concrete barrier designs were perceived to have favored “rural” qualities. Data collected during the research on acoustic effectiveness and public acceptance were used to develop structural requirements and construction details for a prototype wood sound barrier. The prototype wood sound barrier provided insertion losses of 15 dB or greater, exceeding the 10-dB acceptable performance for a highway sound barrier.