Highways are no doubt the busiest and hence noisy roads. Installing Highway sound barriers is a clever idea but everyone wants to know what they are and how they work. They do work in a certain way, but what is more to it?
In today’s article, we will try to calm down your agog with all the right answers. So coming to the point.
What Are Highway Sound Barriers and What Do They Do?
As we know, Soundproof panels are installed to stop unwanted sounds from coming within or going out the wall. Similarly, Highway sound barriers are installed to limit the noise produced by cars and heavy vehicles on the road.
They also block the sound coming from an industrial area located near roads.
Read our article about what do soundproof panels do to know more.
For decades humanity has been looking for an effective solution to handle and reduce all kinds of pollution effectively. Till now, noise pollution was the most neglected one but thanks to modern-day inventions roadway barriers have come forward to save the planet.
These highway barriers absorb sound in their acoustic panels and keep the surroundings calm protecting both people and the environment. (Learn more about what do acoustic panels do?)
What Are Highway Sound Barriers Made Of?
The road barriers can be made from several materials. Some of the commonly used materials are metal, wood, insulating wool, steel, composite, concrete, and plastic.
These sound barriers are installed around highways and are a natural and environment-friendly solution to noise pollution.
Many vendors are introducing aesthetically pleasing sound barriers that you can use to grow plants and confine noise within areas. These are called ecological sound barriers.
Plants like juniper, Holies, and larch could be grown to combat noise pollution. These trees are excellent highway noise barriers themselves.
How Do Highway Sound Barriers Works?
There is a simple science behind the mechanism. We need to understand how sound waves travel. When a sound is produced, it travels in waves. The farther it goes lessen is the effect. That is why when we hear sound from distant places, we hear dim sound.
Now if there is a hurdle in a way, the sound wave will break and we will hear even less sound.
Also, many surfaces absorb sound more effectively than others. This means putting a barrier in a way will decrease the intensity of sound. Highway barriers work in the same way. They act as a barricade to slow down the intensity of sound.
Do Highway Sound Barriers Reduce Noise?
Yes, they work but the real question is how effective are highway sound barriers? Well, they might not be as effective as you think!
Highway sound barriers only lessen the sound, they don’t nullify or discard it totally.
Studies have shown that installing highway sound barriers have effectively reduced noise for places that were located near a highway.
So for nearby places, it was an effective solution for road noise reduction. Although the sound was still there it clearly reduced that irritating feeling and direct effect of sound.
However, for further areas, the efficiency was not up to the expectations. For distant places, Sound already gets minimized along the way. So noise barriers were not a very effective solution.
Who Pays For Highway Sound Barriers?
The federal government is responsible for all the construction projects. The state analyzes the cost and decides if it is necessary to install road barriers.
The federal highway authority pays up to 90 percent of the highway road barrier installation. Whereas the remaining highway road barrier cost is covered by local bodies.
Additional Sources: https://highways.dot.gov/public-roads/spring-2021/modern-tool-noise-analysis
Can Tree and Shrubs Act As Noise barrier?
Oh yes, trees are the best and most eco-friendly solution for controlling noise pollution. Some parts of tree refract, some absorb and others deflect the sound waves making them the perfect barrier for noise reduction.
Planting trees must be the first choice for any govt. if possible. They don’t only act as sound barriers but have an overall positive effect on the environment.
How To Reduce Highway Noise In The Backyard?
Living near a highway is no easy job. The constant sound doesn’t only disturb the residents but also reduces the value of the property.
Here are a few effective techniques that one can use to minimize the noise coming from the highway.
Build A Fence
It’s time to safeguard your castle, so build a wall! Building a solid fence can stop the sound from coming inside the area.
However, your protective fence must be built with solid and thick materials like stone, brick, and concrete.
There are many superb ideas available online to build a wall that is equally aesthetically pleasing as they are effective in stopping the sound.
The noise barrier wall must not have any holes or places left for sounds to come in.
Install A Fountain
Water is another known natural resource for channeling sound waves. It doesn’t only absorb unwanted sound but also gives a sense of calmness.
Installing a water feature in your own backyard will help in noise reduction and at the same time adds aesthetic to your place.
Plant A Garden
The world needs more trees and your backyard having highway noises is the best place to plant them. Trees help fight air pollution as well as noise pollution.
So it is a win-win situation. Plant trees that have medium height. We have already mentioned above that some trees are better at handling noise than others.
Pros Of Installing Highway Sound Barriers
- Helps in controlling noise pollution.
- Constant noise can cause depression and emotional stress.
- Highway barriers safeguard residents living or working near busy roads.
- Effectively managing noise and channeling sound in a better way improves the overall quality of life.
- Add aesthetic to infrastructure.
- When properly installed, it can significantly increase property rates.
These highway barriers are exterior panels carefully designed to handle noises produced on the busiest roads.
Otherwise, noise coming out from industrial areas or automobiles could be disturbing for people residing or working near Highways.
The government pays for it and people who are living near highways can adopt techniques to minimize the noise in their area.