Work Zone Mobility and Safety Program
Photo collage: temporary lane closure, road marking installation, cone with mounted warning light, and drum separated work zones.
Office of Operations 21st Century Operations Using 21st Century Technologies

Text from 'Effective Noise Control During Nighttime Construction' PowerPoint Presentation

Slide 1

Making Work Zones Work Better

Effective Noise Control During Nighttime Construction

Slide 2

Cliff Schexnayder, Ph.D., PE

Eminent Scholar

Arizona State University and

James Ernzen, Ph.D., PE

Associate Professor

Arizona State University

Slide 3

Domenick Biller, New Jersey DOT

J. Conrad, Washington DOT

Steve DeWitt, North Carolina DOT

William Dowd, FHWA

Arthur Gruhn, Connecticut DOT

Fred Hejl, TRB

Crawford Jencks, TRB

J. Smythe, Iowa DOT

Erich Thalheimer, Central Artery/Tunnel Proj.

Ron Williams, Arizona DOT

Slide 4

Construction Nuisances

The goal is to minimize construction's impact on abutting residents and businesses, while moving forward with the work on schedule and within budget.

Slide 5

Construction Noise Generators
Noise Generator % identifying as problem *
Back up alarms 41
Slamming Tailgates 27
Hoe Rams 24
Milling Grinding Machines 16
Earthmoving Equip 14

Slide 6

Problem Activities
Activity Type % identifying as problem *
Pavement Breaking 27
Paving/Resurfacing 25
Pile Driving 24
Bridge Deck Removal 24
Rehab 20

Slide 7

Noise Transfer Situation

Diagram: The Noise Transfer Situation shows the relation between sources, such as a pile driver, loader and truck, and their paths, groundborne vibration and direct sound (which includes a reverberant field) to the receiver. The relation is detailed below.

The Pile Driver creates a groundborne vibration path to the receiver.

The loader and truck create a direct sound (reverberant field) path to the receiver.

Slide 8

Source Controls

It is a cardinal rule that, where possible, noise control should occur at the source.

  • Require modern equipment
  • Modern equipment has better engine insulation and mufflers.

Slide 9

Source Controls

Equipment Restrictions

Require the use of

  • Manually adjustable or
  • Ambient-sensitive backup alarms

Slide 10

Position of Backup Alarms

Photo: The position of backup alarms is circled on the machine.

Slide 11

Source Controls

  • Equipment Restrictions

By specification direct the use of only solar powered traffic control devices.

Photo: A solar powered traffic control device

Slide 12

Source Controls

  • Operate at minimum power

A frequency reduction will assist in reducing perceived noise.

Slide 13

Source Controls

  • Use quieter alternate equipment

Use electric or hydraulic powered equipment.

Slide 14

Path Controls

The second line of attack is controlling noise radiation along its transmission path.

Slide 15

Path Controls

  • Enclose especially noisy activities or stationary equipment

Slide 16

Path Controls

Grout plant enclosures for audio, visual and dust control.

Photo: A plant enclosure

Slide 17

Path Controls

Note advertising space sold on the enclosure.

Photo: A plant enclosure with available advertising space

Slide 18

Path Controls

  • Erect noise barriers or curtains.

Noise barriers are cost-effective when they provide perceptible noise reduction benefits to a relatively large number of receptors.

Slide 19

Path Controls

  • Erect noise barriers or curtains.

A barrier must physically fit in the space available and completely break the line-of-sight between the noise source and the receptors.

Slide 20

Acoustic Shadow Zone

Diagram: Shows the path of the source sound as it travels over the barrier. The three areas highlighted in this diagram are the high frequency cut-off, the low frequency cut-off and the acoustic shadow (where the noise is blocked by the barrier).

Slide 21

Path Controls

May be very temporary systems mounted on jersey bases for easy relocation.

Slide 22

Path Controls

More permanent walls designed to last several years on long duration projects.

Slide 23

Path Controls

Any gaps should be completely sealed.

Slide 24

Path Controls

Another option for temporary noise barriers are acoustical curtains.

Slide 25

Barrier Cost
Barrier Type Cost per sf.
Temporary walls $10-$15
Curtains $8-$9
Permanent Wall
U.S. Gypsum, Ultrascreen

Slide 26

Receptor Controls

When all other approaches to noise control fail a program of control at the receiver should be undertaken.

Slide 27

Receptor Controls

  • Window Treatment Program

A receptor located very close to the noise generating activity.

Slide 28

Receptor Controls

  • Window Treatment Program


  • Resident with health condition
  • Hardship situation (Infant, house-bound person)

Slide 29

Receptor Controls

  • Window Treatment Program


  • Interior glazed storm sash
  • Replace window with double paned glass
  • Sliding glass storm door

Slide 30

Receptor Controls

  • Window Treatment Program

Cost guidelines on CA/T project:

  • $800 per interior storm sash
  • $2,500 per window replacement
  • $5,000 total per resident

Slide 31

Receptor Controls

  • Temporary relocation

Cost guidelines on CA/T project:

In very special cases temporary relocation may be necessary.

  • California - earthquake repair
  • One case I-15 project (medical)
  • Four apartments CA/T project

Slide 32

Community Relations

Early communication with the public is vital

Slide 33

Community Relations

Establishment of good rapport with the community can provide high benefits at low cost.

Slide 34

Community Relations

  • Inform the public of any potential construction noise impacts and measures that will be employed to reduce the impacts.

Slide 35

Community Relations Information

  • Identify the work activity and location.
  • Identify the work hours and the duration of the activity.

Slide 36

Community Relations Information

  • Explain what neighbors can expect, sounds, lights and equipment.  A statement of concern about the nuisances and that every effort is being made to reduce impacts is important.

Slide 37

Community Relations

"Whenever possible, crews will point lights away from homes and will also try to move heavy equipment so that back-up alarms are angled away from homes."

Slide 38

Community Relations Information

  • Where to get more information
  • Noise complaint hotline number

Slide 39

Keeping up with Construction

The I-15 Reconstruction project will reduce congestion and provide residents and businesses with a state-of-the art freeway.

To learn more about this project, call our toll-free information line at 1-888-INFO-I-15 (1-888-463-6415). You can also look for traffic reports in the local media or access our Web site at  One way that you can work through this project is to try reducing the total number of daily car trips your family makes.

Slide 40

Community Relations Information

  • Noise complaint hotline number


Wasatch Constructors-594-6400
UDOT 1-15 Team-594-6145
Construction Noise-322-2378

Slide 41

Community Relations

I-15 Hotline Calls

Chart: Most calls were received in the late summer/early fall. Data contained in table below.

Month/Year Number of Phone Calls
May 97 60
June 97 10
July 97 32
Aug 97 44
Sept 97 33
October 97 31
November 97 99
December 97 75
January 98 11
February 98 10
March 98 91
April 98 17
May 98 10

Slide 42

Community Relations

  • Establish and publicize a responsive complaint mechanism for the duration of the project.

Slide 43

Scan of a Wasatch Constructors Environmental Hotline ad reads:

Wasatch Constructors Environmental Hotline 363-1579 
The Salt Lake Valley will be even better when I-15 Reconstruction is complete.  Until then, Wasatch Constructors is doing its part to keep the valley a great place to live.  We are committed to reducing the noise, vibration and dust from the I-15 Reconstruction project.

Slide 44

Noise Mitigation Cost

CA/T Noise Program Estimate
Cost Category Cost
Direct Expenses1 $5,326,360
Indirect Expenses2 $102,000
Mitigation Costs3 $4,729,600
Contractor Costs4 $5,420,660
Total $15,578,620

Slide 45

Noise Mitigation Cost
Cost Category Cost
Total $15,578,620

This mitigation effort represents about 0.15% of project cost.

What does project delay cost.


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