Highways are a great way to improve a country’s logistics operations by keeping people and goods moving. Nevertheless, the amount of traffic can be quite a nuisance if not properly controlled by contributing to noise pollution. Highway sound barriers are a great innovation used to control excessive noise generated by the activity on the highways.
Urban and residential areas are protected from noise pollution using a variety of techniques that we will explore further. Installing highway sound barriers helps people living and working around these areas proceed with their day-to-day activities without suffering the unwanted stress and health conditions associated with excessive noise.
Types Of Highway Sound Barriers
Selecting the right type of acoustic barrier can be quite tricky because noise may pass through gaps in the wall or over it if it’s not high enough. Also, the type of material used can make the noise ricochet back to the highway making it noisier and negatively affecting the road users’ health. We will now explore in detail the types of material used to construct noise barriers.
- Timber noise barriers – Acoustic timber walls are considered more affordable due to the availability of wood. This should be made from kiln-dried, pressure-treated wood for minimal maintenance and longevity. While installing it, ensure that there are no air gaps or damage and it’s long enough to work effectively. Timber walls have been known to offer up to 32 decibels in noise reduction where they work as both a reflective and absorptive barrier.
- Metal noise barriers – These provide a strong and sturdy option as a barrier. This type is best suited for industrial areas since they aren’t as aesthetically appealing as timber barriers. They come in a variety of both reflective and absorptive walls and offer up to 28 decibels in noise reduction.
- Concrete barriers – These are considered to be the most expensive to erect. However, their long-lasting and better aesthetic qualities make them a natural choice for most highways. They are opted for due to their ability to redirect and reflect noise elsewhere. The major disadvantage is that they can produce echoes which increases the amount of noise pollution. Concrete highway barriers offer up to 40 decibels in noise reduction.
- Acrylic noise barrier – These types of barriers are visible and are usually used to reflect sound from the highways. They have a longer lifespan and are also aesthetically pleasing. The major disadvantage is that they are susceptible to warping but can offer up to 32 decibels in noise reduction.
- Gabion walls – This provides a cost-effective method of managing highway noise. Their effectiveness can provide up to 60 decibels in noise reduction owing to their thickness. However, the material used for construction can make them visually prominent and fail to blend with the surroundings. They also aren’t very secure since it’s easy to climb over them.
Noise pollution has been shown to have a negative effect on both mental and physical health. Understanding noise barriers can help in getting the right solution to offer peace and quiet as you go about your daily activities especially if you live or work close to a busy road.
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