Noise produced from vehicles affects people’s life as it can impact work performance, sleep and increase stress levels. According to a research by the Victorian Environment Protection Authority (EPA), about 50% of the 1.200 people examined were affected by environmental noise (which was mostly deriving from road traffic).
Moreover, the percentage of people annoyed by traffic noise has increased over the last three decades, a fact that shows that more people live close to main roads. The evidence matches with other surveys’ findings that were conducted in Canada, UK, South Australia and Brisbane.
Traffic sounds can reach up to 90 decibels posing a threat to people’s health according to the US National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. A method to address this issue is to install noise barriers and acoustic treatments along the busiest roads. Three types of noise barriers exist:
- Reflective barriers, usually tall boundaries that reflect the sound in order to reduce the noise level,
- Dispersive barriers, which have a similar function with reflective barriers but they can also redirect the sound upwards and downwards depending on their inclination and
- Absorptive barriers, that absorb the sound with the utilization of a suitable material
Precast concrete can be used to create such roadside barriers as it has a lot of benefits, Sarah Bachmann, National Precast Concrete Association Australia CEO, explains. “There are numerous advantages of constructing noise walls with precast concrete. Being manufactured offsite in a controlled factory environment guarantees a high-quality product, excellent finishes and a fast construction time,” she said. Mrs. Bachmann also emphasizes on the installation procedure which is now simplified and has become safer and on the sustainability that precast concrete provides.
Moreover, concrete walls can be constructed is a way that they provide aesthetic quality giving the opportunity for engineers to optimize their design in order to be harmonic with the territory.
Source: Roads & Infrastructure