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Noise suppression not required on Grant

Posted at 5:53 PM, Jan 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-29 08:08:47-05

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - How can you make a busy road quieter?

The City of Tucson has been checking the noise on Grant Road and figuring out if it will need to try to cut noise on the road after a major widening project makes it even busier.

An ambulance on Grant kicked KGUN9’s basic decibel meter to about a hundred decibels, but average traffic was much lower.

Grant Road carries about 30 thousand cars a day now but for sound estimates the city looked 20 years ahead for an estimate of 46 thousand cars adding noise to the neighborhood.

Grant Road project manager Beth Abramovitz says, "The noise levels were between 55 and 60 decibels. You and I have this conversation right now is about 60 decibels. So it's a conversation at about three feet.". She says the city sound estimates are low enough to not require sound mitigation measures.

When people think of killing road sounds, they tend to automatically think of walls. We did a rough experiment with a residential wall lower than a wall you'd use to muffle a road sound. Just outside the wall about a block from Grant we were getting decibel ratings in the high 70s, pushing 80, while inside the wall we're seeing decibel readings in the 65 decibel range."

Matthew Clarke says the wall around his house does a great job blocking traffic noise, even though it's lower than a sound wall would be.

He says, "My friend lives two houses up and he has just a chain link fence and he can hear the semis just shaking the whole house when they drive by and with my wall, in my bedroom I sleep the night and don't even hear it, barely hear the ambulances. Much better."

Grant Road Project Engineer Beth Abramovitz future sound estimates are low enough that the city does not plan to add features to cut the sound.

To keep a promise to a neighborhood, the city does plan to use special rubberized pavement to reduce tire noise between Park and Santa Rita.

Even fresh conventional pavement recently laid down helped the noise on Grant.

Grant Road runs just a few feet from Joseph LaMantia’s house.

He says, "We had vibration problems and busted water lines and couldn't get anyone in the city to do anything about it and we all know that the pothole situation on Grant Road was way overdue."

Matthew Clarke says the wall around his house does a great job blocking traffic noise, even though it's lower than a sound wall would be.

He says, "My friend lives two houses up and he has just a chain link fence and he can hear the semis just shaking the whole house when they drive by and with my wall, in my bedroom I sleep the night and don't even hear it, barely hear the ambulances. Much better.

The city says sound walls can create some real problems. They become graffiti magnets, cut light and views in a neighborhood, and add problems for police because they create cover for criminals like burglars.