F3 Sound Wall Noise Barriers

Quoting from the Federal Highway Administration:

Noise barriers are solid obstructions built between the highway and the homes along a highway. They do not completely block all noise they only reduce overall noise levels. Effective noise barriers typically reduce noise levels by 5 to 10 decibels (dB), cutting the loudness of traffic noise by as much as one half. For example, a barrier which achieves a 10-dB reduction can reduce the sound level of a typical tractor trailer pass-by to that of an automobile.

The Problem with Conventional Noise Barriers is twofold:

  1. The real cost, which is funded by taxpayers.
  2. The opportunity cost associated with not having those taxpayer funds available to tackle other important infrastructure projects.

No matter what measure is used for estimating the cost of constructing noise barrier walls for highways, it's damned expensive – exceedingly so! Depending on what Internet search result one references, these noise barrier walls cost from $2 million per linear mile and upwards to as much as $20 million per mile (reportedly) for an installation in Los Angeles. When installing these sound walls on both sides of the highway; multiply by 2. Using a different measure, funding the construction of noise barriers can cost taxpayers as much as $92,000 per impacted home. 

Highway noise is a real problem for many residences. However, if we believe even government is subject to the law of finite resources, there's likely three choices:

  1. Do Nothing, continue status quo: Absorb the cost to the detriment of other much needed infrastructure projects or grow the public deficit even larger.
  2. Stop Building Noise Barriers: This may ultimately become the defacto choice if we opt for door #1 above. This choice simply pretends that noise has no impact on exposed populations.
  3. Find a More Affordable Solution: This is the choice F3 Online subscribes to as it being not just the most reasonable, but ultimately, it being the only real choice we have in order to both protect and conserve.

F3 Online offers three solutions relating to Sound Wall Noise Barriers:

  1. Artistic, sculptured facades for rejuvenating existing walls and noise barriers — "existing" means walls already installed and paid for
  2. Artistic, sculptured facades designed into the molding for building new walls and noise barriers — if a project is already committed, at least let us help make it visually appealing at an affordable cost.
  3. A lightweight, but highly durable and effective noise barrier design, custom engineered to satisfy or exceed the minimum requirements established by the FHWA noise regulation, found at 23 CFR 772. It both absorbs and reflects sound — a no-brainer solution in our opinion. This choice also delivers the benefit of making the noise barrier visually appealing without much additional cost.

A brief description for each of the solutions offered by F3 Online follows:

    1. Applying Solution #1 for creating artistic, sculptured facades offers two methods for fabricating the structures, both achieving the same result from the visual perspective. The cost of this solution is quite affordable compared to the cost of raising and reconstructing an existing noise barrier.  There are two choices for creating this sculptured facade:
      • Fabricate EPS foam to sculpt a "positive" image of the facade. This sculpted EPS foam is then used to create a "negative" mold for casting the final structure.
      • Fabricate EPS foam to sculpt the image of the facade and apply long lasting, weather and sun resistant protective coating to the EPS structure.
    2. Solution #2 is exactly like Solution #1 with the exception being that #1 is really a refurbishment of an existing structure while #2 is engineered into the design of a new noise barrier. Cost is the downside of this solution because it really is just making the visual appeal of a conventional noise barrier an integral part of the design.
    3. Solution #3 is the ENCOURAGING choice simply because it directly addresses the cost problem associated with conventional noise barriers — and solves it! — without lessening any sound abatement qualities.

Solution #3 offers the following, superior benefits:

Skip to toolbar