Please find below the response from NCDOT about the noise walls and the process/possibility of noise walls for Stratford Forest as part of the I-77 project. In addition to the communication below, we were informed that they apply the NCDOT Noise Policy consistently across all projects. Where no noise impact occurs, as specified by our Policy, we are unable to consider noise abatement. And although the community may not be pleased with the answer, there is no appeals process for noise walls. Unless something changes with the project, or new information comes to light that we were not previously aware of, this is the final answer.
Response from NCDOT:
The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) established the NCDOT Traffic Noise Abatement Policy to comply with Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) rules regarding traffic noise (found in Title 23 Code of Federal Regulations Part 772 – Procedures for Abatement of Highway Traffic Noise and Construction Noise). These documents require that traffic noise analyses be performed for all Type I projects, which are essentially all projects involving construction of new highways or widening existing highways. We use computer models to predict future noise levels along proposed highway projects and, when the predicted traffic noise levels reach certain thresholds, our policy requires that noise reduction methods be considered. If the noise reduction measures meet feasibility and reasonableness criteria detailed in our policy, they are implemented into highway plans and constructed as part of the highway project. All noise reduction methods must remain within the constraints of the feasibility and reasonableness criteria defined within our policy.
A detailed traffic noise analysis was completed for the I-77 Express Lanes project which included the section near Mapledale Court, Oakmoor Court, Shadow Bark Drive, and Forest Shadow Circle. The lack of a noise wall in any particular area indicates that either noise levels did not reach levels high enough to require consideration of a noise wall or the area did not meet the feasibility and reasonableness criteria noted above and, therefore, a noise wall was not justified for construction.
In the case of your community, Stratford Forest, the minimum residential exterior threshold level that requires noise reduction consideration – 66 decibels – would not occur adjacent to the homes along I-77; consequently, no noise reduction was considered for your community and none is proposed. This does not mean that you won’t be bothered by traffic noise, but rather that noise levels weren’t predicted to be high enough as required by our noise policy for a noise wall to be considered.
I hope this information sufficiently answers your questions. For additional information, please contact me at (919) 707-2728 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tracy Roberts, AICP