Submitted by R. Neal on Sat, 11/13/2010 - 11:59

According to TDOT at the Nov. 9th meeting, several communities will be impacted by noise pollution from the Alcoa Parkway/bypass as proposed.

When asked about plans to address it, TDOT basically said that specifics wouldn't be known until a design is finalized and that there wold be a more detailed noise abatement study and public hearings.

If history is any guide, don't expect much. The Pellissippi Parkway Extension Environmental Impact Statement has a lengthy section on noise pollution. Detailed studies were done showing exactly who would be impacted and by how much in terms of increased decibel levels.

The study then looked at mitigation using realignment, traffic control measures, and concrete sound barriers. Realignment was rejected because the route is already planned for minimum possible environmental and community impact. Traffic control measures were rejected because they would be "contrary to the purpose of the road."

Regarding concrete sound barriers, the report concludes (pg. 3-66):

Eight locations were considered for an in-depth barrier analysis. All noise barriers were evaluated at heights ranging from six to 24 feet. [..] All eight barriers were determined to be too costly based on cost criteria defined in the TDOT noise policy and procedure guidelines, as demonstrated in Table 3-22. The cost per benefitted residence in all eight cases was higher than the allowable $38,000. This was due in part to the low density of homes in areas likely to have noise impacts, and because of the height of the noise barrier that would be required to achieve adequate mitigation.

The Alcoa Parkway/bypass will border neighborhoods with much higher population density, though, so a detailed noise study, if one is ever conducted, might come to a different conclusion for this project.

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Won't that be great, though?

Won't that be great, though? Big concrete barriers cropping up everywhere in Alcoa.

The Johnny Appleseed Approach

According to Virginia's DOT, one can get about 10 decibels of noise reduction for every 100 feet thick by 20 feet high plot of dense vegetation. IMO that'd look much better than concrete.

VDOT's Highway Noise Study

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The purpose of this site is to provide an online clearinghouse for information about the proposed Alcoa Parkway bypass and to promote public awareness and public participation in the process. We believe that the original proposal to improve the existing Alcoa Highway corridor needs a second look as a viable alternative for correcting safety and capacity problems, and that the public should have more input in selecting the preferred build alternative.

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Send your comments and suggestions to M. Neal, mneal@rviews.com or R. Neal, rneal@rviews.com. You can also mail your comments to Stop Alcoa Parkway, P.O. Box 490, Alcoa TN 37701. To join our mailing list for updates and new developments, please email mneal@rviews.com.